As you get ready to go home for the holidays (or not!) here are some things to remember when you get back to work in 2024.
Employers with more than 10 employees in most industries must keep records of occupational injuries and illnesses. This includes:
- OSHA Form 300, the Log of Work Related Injuries, and Illnesses.
- OSHA Form 301, the Injury, and Illness Incident Report (Information as is on the Oklahoma Form 2 although the standard for recordability is slightly different).
- OSHA Form 300A, the Annual Summary of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses.
Employers are required to prepare the Form 300A and post it in a visible location in the workplace from February 1 to April 30, 2024. The electronic reporting deadline is March 2, 2024. Be advised, you still need to keep everything as confidential as possible. Best practices suggest assigning a number to each OSHA recordable and keep that number for the life of the injury.
The biggest change this year is for those industries that have not traditionally had to report electronically because they did not have enough employees. Originally you had to have 250 employees to be on the list. Now the list has changed, adding some new industries and certain employers with only 20–249 employees in certain designated industries.
Here are some industries that fall in this lower employee category that will now have to electronically report:
|Certain Ambulatory Health Care Services
|Automotive Parts, Accessories, and Tire Stores
|Most Retail Establishments
|Rental Equipment Companies
|Lessors of Real Estate
|Couriers, Local Messengers and Local and Express Delivery Services
|Nursing Care Facilities (Skilled Nursing Facilities)
|Certain Retirement Communities and Assisted Living Facilities
|Vocational Rehabilitation Services
|Performing Arts Companies
|Museums, Historical Sites
|Drycleaning and Laundry Services
Go to OSHA.gov and check to see if you now have an electronic reporting requirement. Regardless of a company’s size, everyone with 10 or more employees still has to keep records. And certain injuries, like death claims, require immediate reporting.
Fair Labor Standards Act
Not to be outdone by the safety people, the Wage and hour Division of the DOL has some pending rules that you need to be cognizant of.
While there is not yet a recommendation for a raise in minimum wage, there is a Proposed Rule from the DOL that the minimum pay for exempt workers be raised to $1,059 per week or $55,068 annually. The Proposed Rule also raises the minimum wage for the highly compensated executives to $143,988. The Rule proposes to review these minimum pay rates every three years. Also, while Oklahoma has not set a minimum wage above the federal rate, twenty-one other states are raising their minimum wage.
To be proactive, examine who you consider exempt and whether you will want to raise them up to this rate should it pass. Since non-exempt is the preferred pay method for the DOL, take a look at employees that may be impacted by a pay rate change. January 1, 2024 is a good time to change them to hourly employees. And be wary of those you consider independent contractors. That area of the law is in flux and the DOL wants to turn back the clock and make less employees qualify as independent contractors.
Do not forget the expansion of the rights of the pregnant and recently pregnant nursing women. The EEOC governs the accommodation aspects under the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA) and the DOL is watching nursing mothers to be sure they are provided with appropriate facilities and that they are given break time. If you haven’t instituted a PUMP ACT/PWFA policy, be ready to make it a New Year’s resolution.
Also, take to heart the EEOC commentary on affirmative action and the recent U.S. Supreme Court decisions. Geographically and economically broaden where you hire from but remember you can’t make decisions based solely on race or any other protected class.
Now its eggnog time! Feel free to contact the undersigned or anyone else in our Labor & Employment Practice Group for help with these and any other legal challenges.