Employer Tips

ICE Increases Enforcement

 
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U.S Immigration & Customs Enforcement

After California Governor Jerry Brown signed sanctuary laws in October 2017, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has cracked down on arresting undocumented individuals in California. ICE Director Thomas Homan stated that because California's sanctuary laws limit cooperation with state law enforcement partners, ICE actions "will inevitably result in additional collateral arrests, instead of focusing on arrests at jails and prisons where transfers are safer for ICE officers and the community."
In January 2018, ICE issued Notices of Inspection (NOIs) to 77 companies in Northern California. The following month, ICE issued 122 NOIs to companies in Southern  California and made over 200 arrests. According to Homan, "88 % were convicted criminals." Employers who received NOIs regarding their I-9 forms had three days to prepare for the inspections. Failure to comply could result in civil fines and possible criminal prosecution.

Since September 2017, ICE has conducted raids all over the U.S. and issued one of the largest fines in its history -- Asplundh Tree received a $95 million penalty. ICE also served audit notices on 98 7-Eleven franchises and conducted raids that led to over 20 arrests.

California is not the only enforcement target. 

Below are ICE's statistics for the 2017 fiscal year:

  • Conducted 1,360 I-9 audits

  • Made 139 criminal arrests and 172 administrative arrests

  • Ordered businesses to pay $97.6 million in judicial forfeiture, fines, and restitution and $7.8 million in civil fines


These statistics are part of the first two prongs of ICE's three-pronged enforcement process: 

  1. I-9 inspections and civil fines

  2. Arrests of employers and unauthorized workers


ICE offers the IMAGE Program which trains and certifies employers to set an example for other employers.

Employers who are looking to get certified must:

  • Complete the IMAGE Self-Assessment Application

  • Sign an IMAGE partnership agreement

  • Enroll in E-Verify within 60 days

  • Establish a written hiring and employment eligibility verification policy

  • Conduct yearly I-9 self-audits

  • Submit to an initial I-9 inspection


For employers who enroll in the IMAGE Program, ICE will:

  • Waive potential fines if substantive violations are discovered on fewer than 50 percent of the Form I-9s. If more than 50 percent of forms have substantive violations, they will mitigate fines.

  • Not conduct another inspection for two years.

  • Provide information and training before, during and after inspection.

Expansion of Sexual Harassment Training Obligations

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Governor Brown Signs SB 1343 Expanding Sexual Harassment Training Obligations

On September 30, 2018, California Governor Jerry Brown signed SB 1343, which lowers the number of employees a company must have to trigger mandatory sexual harassment training.

SB 1343 takes effect on January 1, 2020.  Any California employer with 5 or more employees will be required to provide mandatory sexual harassment training to all employees both supervisory and non-supervisory employees, as well as temporary and seasonal workers..

Currently, any California employer with 50 or more employees is required to provide at least 2 hours of sexual harassment training to all supervisory employees within 6 months of assuming the supervisory position.  After the initial training, employees are required to have updated sexual harassment training once every 2 years.

Please contact HR Advisors for more information about our Sexual Harassment Training Program.

Tips for Open Enrollement

6 tips to share with your employees during open enrollment.

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1. Take an active role.

Many employers are working on making enrollment quick and easy. One of the ways your company can do this is by clearly communicating what is changing from previous years. You should also encourage your employees to take advantage of the resources you provide.

2. Assess your and your dependents’ health care needs.

Encourage employees to start by reviewing how much they have spent out-of-pocket in the past year, the costs of their regular prescriptions, and the number of doctor visits they have had. If they are participating in a flexible spending account, encourage them to re-evaluate their contribution levels based on their actual and anticipated expenses for 2019. It’s also important to think about any life changes that may impact their decisions, such as an addition to the family or the development of a new medical condition that may impact health care expenses.

3. Evaluate your plan’s provider network.

There have been many changes taking place in the provider community, including doctor’s groups joining together and hospitals and health systems re-contracting with insurers. As a result, health plan options may include vastly different combinations of doctors and hospitals than in the past.

4. Evaluate whether a consumer-driven health plan is right for you.

CDHPs often have lower premiums, which make them an attractive option for individuals who want to reduce the costs taken out of their paychecks each pay period. While employees may have a higher deductible to meet, many employers combine these plans with health reimbursement accounts or health savings accounts, which employees can use to help pay for eligible out-of-pocket health care costs. It’s important for employees to understand how the employer’s contributions work so they can maximize this subsidy.

5. Determine the best source of coverage for your dependents.

If an employee’s spouse, partner or adult children have access to health coverage elsewhere, including through their employer, it may be more cost effective for them to enroll in this coverage instead of being covered by you. Encourage employees to carefully review and compare these plans to ensure they are choosing the coverage they need at the most favorable cost.

6. Take advantage of health and wellness programs.

Many employers offer a wide range of health and wellness programs, such as health assessments, weight loss programs and health coaching to help employees get and stay healthy. Taking part in these programs can help employees understand their current health status, and they might even be able to take advantage of a financial incentive for doing so.