Benefits & Compensation

Special thanks to guest contributors Christopher Guldberg and Janel Brynda.

The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (the “ARPA”), was signed into law on March 11, 2021, and creates a temporary COBRA premium subsidy for certain qualifying individuals. This COBRA premium subsidy applies to all group health plans subject to the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974.  Thus, most employers will be impacted by the new COBRA subsidy.

Employers will need to evaluate the impact of the ARPA not only with respect to COBRA administration, but equally important,  employers may need to make changes to their severance arrangements to take into account the temporary COBRA subsidy.

The ARPA provides that an assistance eligible individual who elects COBRA coverage will be deemed to have paid 100% of any applicable COBRA premium (including the 2% administrative charge) during the period April 1, 2021 to September 30, 2021. In this respect, ARPA differs from the premium assistance under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 that only provided for a partial premium subsidy for eligible individuals.


Continue Reading The American Rescue Plan of 2021 Requires Employer Action and Potential Updates to Severance Arrangements

Most US multinationals conduct regular pay equity audits, but for further insights into promoting equity and removing potential bias in compensation, companies are increasingly exploring adding performance ratings audits to the standard review cycle.

Performance ratings can often have a large impact on an employee’s rate of pay and/or bonus compensation. However, for many companies, performance ratings are discretionary, given by managers without specific guidelines or training to follow and without many (or any) checks and balances. In addition, considerations regarding leveling of job descriptions, both at the time of hire and as employees matriculate, may impact performance ratings. Because the results of a pay audit are only as good as the data inputs, it makes sense to take a closer look at how the underlying data comes to be.


Continue Reading Taking Your Pay Equity Analysis To The Next Level: Performance Ratings Audits

As employers contemplate using compensation to incentivize employees and management toward achieving the company’s I&D goals, our global counselors and litigators share a framework for thinking through both the practical and legal considerations when designing a reward system related to I&D.

Click here to watch the video.

Special thanks to our guest contributors Anne Batter, Alexandra Minkovich, Joshua Odintz, Christopher Hanna, Etienne Couret and Derek Gumm.

After months of partisan bickering and Senate inaction, Congress finally passed another round of COVID-19 relief legislation as part of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021, P.L. 116-260, (“CAA”), which was signed

We identified and mapped out our most relevant blog posts, articles and video chats to serve as a quick and handy roadmap to recovery and renewal for your company.

Our 2021 Employment & Compensation Resource Navigator provides US multinational companies organized links to Baker McKenzie’s most helpful, relevant thought leadership in one brief document. Arranged

Special thanks to guest contributors Narendra Acharya, Nicole C. Calabro, Denise M. Glagau, Sinead M. Kelly, Jennifer Kirk, Barbara Klementz, Lindsay A. Minnis, Aimee Soodan, and Brian K. Wydajewski.

It is almost the end of the calendar year and time for multinational companies to consider the

As predicted, on September 30, 2020, California Governor Newsom signed SB 973 into law. SB 973 requires private employers with 100 or more employees to report pay data to the Department of Fair Employment and Housing by March 31, 2021, and by March 31 each year thereafter, for specified job categories by gender, race, and

It is customary to read of employees claiming retaliation against their employer. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit’s recent decision in Bator v. District Council 4, Graphic Communications Conference represents the almost unheard of — employees claiming retaliation at the hands of their union instead.

In Bator, union members simply wanted

Employers must pay for all hours they know or “have reason to believe” employees worked. But can employers simply rely on teleworking employees to report all of their hours worked, or must they instead investigate whether their employees have accurately reported their work time? With the huge increase in teleworking since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, this question should be top-of-mind for employers.

On August 24, 2020, the US Department of Labor issued Field Assistance Bulletin No. 2020-5 (FAB) to clarify an employer’s obligations in determining whether teleworking employees have accurately reported their work time. In short, the employer is not required to comb through every cell phone or computer login record to look for unreported work time that the employer neither knew of nor had reason to believe had been worked. As long as the employer provides employees with reasonable time-reporting procedures and does not otherwise impede or discourage reporting, its failure to compensate employees for unreported and unknown hours of work is not an FLSA violation. The FAB and some key takeaways for employers are summarized below.


Continue Reading A “Reason to Believe”: DOL Says the Obligation to Determine Remote Employees’ Hours of Work is “Not Boundless”

The latest wrinkle for employers managing employees in the time of COVID-19 relates to employee travel. Many employers are coming to us asking how to navigate the patchwork of US state and local quarantine restrictions and / or recommendations for persons who travel to hotspots and then have to quarantine when they return home.

Questions abound, including whether employers can just test employees for COVID-19 to avoid a 14-day quarantine period, and whether employers have to pay employees to follow a quarantine order when their employees voluntarily travel to a hotspot location. We provide background and answer those questions below.


Continue Reading Navigating Employee Travel in a Maze of State and Local Quarantine Orders and Travel Advisories