HR Alerts For February 2017
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OSHA 300A Summary Reminders
Beginning February 1, applicable employers must post their 300A Summary of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses Form.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) mandates that all employers who are required to maintain the OSHA 300 Log of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses post a summary of the previous year’s log between February 1st and April 30th each year, even if no incidents occurred in the preceding calendar year.
The summary (OSHA Form 300A) must be certified by a company executive and posted in a conspicuous location where notices to employees are customarily posted.
All employers who had more than ten employees at any point during the last calendar year are covered by this requirement unless they qualify as part of an exempt low-risk industry. New this year: electronic reporting begins.
The OSHA 300A form will need to be submitted online to OSHA by July 1. We will send out an alert closer to this deadline with instructions for submitting the form online as OSHA has not yet released full details of this procedure.
IRS Mileage Rates for 2017 Announced — with Minor Decreases
The IRS has released the official standard mileage rates for 2017. The mileage rates for 2017 for the use of a vehicle are:
- 53.5 cents per mile for business miles driven, down from 54 cents for 2016;
- 17 cents per mile driven for medical or moving purposes, down from 19 cents for 2016;
- 14 cents per mile driven in service of charitable organizations.
The IRS mileage rates for 2017 apply to miles driven starting January 1, 2017.
According to the announcement, the business mileage rate decreased half a cent per mile and the medical and moving expense rates each dropped 2 cents per mile from 2016. The charitable rate is set by statute and remains unchanged.
The IRS sets mileage rates each year for business, moving and medical purposes after studying the fixed and variable costs of operating a vehicle. It calculates variable expenses using the average cost of driving a vehicle and factors in gas usage, maintenance and repair. Only the variable rate applies for medical and moving purposes.
Since mileage rates are contingent upon the costs of driving a vehicle, it’s likely the current drop in oil prices factored into the IRS’s decision to decrease rates.
The 2017 mileage rates apply to miles driven in the following types of vehicles: cars, vans, panel vans and pickup trucks.
Business owners or employees who use their personal vehicle for work have two options for keeping up with mileage: utilize the standard mileage rate (SMR) or track actual expenses.
New I-9 Form Must Be Used
The new Form I-9, released November 14, must be used starting Sunday, January 22.
Since its release, employers have been able to use either the new form (with a revision date of 11/14/2016) or the old form (with a revision date of 03/08/2013). Beginning on January 22, however, the old form will no longer be allowed.
A few important notes about the new form:
- While the new I-9 is intended to be completed as a fillable PDF to reduce errors, it should not be confused with an electronic I-9. An employer must still print the completed I-9, obtain the appropriate signatures (which are not fillable via PDF), monitor re-verifications, and retain the form for the proper retention period. Employers and employees may choose to complete any or all of the form by typing into the fillable PDF or using a pen to fill out sections after the document has been printed. Documents that are partly printed and partly handwritten are acceptable. If using an electronic version of the I-9, employers must still comply with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services’ criteria to be certain of the integrity of the electronic system.
- Do not re-verify current employees due to the new form. Use the new I-9 only for newly hired employees and when you are required to re-verify temporary work authorization. Additionally, all previous forms must still be retained for the proper retention period. All I-9s must be retained for as long as the employee works for you, plus three years after their hire date or one year after their termination date, whichever is later.
- Download the form from the USCIS website (uscis.gov/i-9). If it does not open correctly when you click on it, right click instead and select the “Save link as” option. This will allow you to save the PDF and open it in a PDF reader. It may open correctly once downloaded, or you may need to open Adobe Reader first, then choose the I-9 file to open.
Kentucky Becomes A Right To Work State
On January 7, 2017, Governor Matt Bevin signed House Bill 1 (HB 1) into law and made Kentucky the 27th “right-to-work” state in the nation. The law became effective January 9, 2017 and prohibits requiring an employee to join a union and pay union dues as a condition of his or her employment.
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