Archbright™ Insights December 2016

HR Advice and Counsel Insights

Alarmed by recent settlement cases involving employers and individuals found guilty of colluding with competitors in “no employee poaching” or “salary fixing” arrangements, the Department of Justice and Federal Trade Commission has issued guidance on antitrust compliance. Employees benefit from a free and open marketplace and any attempt to share information with competitors to restrict job movement, fix wages, or limit benefits harms workers. Traditionally, price fixing is completely understood as an anathema to business, it is not always contemplated in the employment arena. The guidance is addressed specifically to human resources (HR) professionals who are largely responsible for recruiting and compensation decisions in an increasingly competitive market. It is designed to educate, inform, and warn them that federal agencies intend to investigate and seek sanctions for antitrust violations. Non-compliant businesses may be subject to civil and/or criminal liability, and HR professionals as individuals could face criminal prosecution. The three principal areas of enforcement are: (1) non-poaching agreements; (2) agreements that fix compensation and/or benefits; and (3) disclosures of non-public compensation or benefits information. In the quick reference card published with the guidance, the agencies remind companies that the following conduct may raise antitrust concerns: • Agreeing with another company about an employee’s salary or other terms of compensation, either at specific level or within a range. • Agreeing with another company to refuse to solicit that other company’s employees. • Agreeing with another company about employee benefits. • Expressing to competitors that you should not compete too aggressively for employees. • Exchanging company-specific information about employee compensation or terms of employment with another company. • Discussing the above topics with colleagues at other companies, including during social events or in other non-professional settings. • Receiving documents that contain another company’s internal data about employee compensation. For example, it would be unlawful to ask a competitor to stop offering certain employee benefits, like gym memberships or transit subsidies, to align with your company’s benefits plan. HR professionals, as well as executives and managers involved in hiring and compensation, are strongly advised to read the guidance. Companies interested in performing an internal audit should do so with HR Professionals Alerted to Federal Antitrust Violations The end of the year is rapidly approaching and that means the holiday season is upon us! We thought members would find the following insights learned from this year’s Benefits & Policies Trends Survey especially interesting as we navigate this time of year: Holidays: Did you know that 5% of organizations provide some level of flexibility as it relates to holiday schedules? For example, 2% of respondents said they offer their employees the option between two holiday schedules. While just 15% of companies close their doors for the period between Christmas and New Year’s, the majority of employers pay employees for observed holidays (88%). Paid Time Off: Although unlimited paid time off is increasingly being discussed in many workplaces, employers are not yet convinced. Only 6% currently offer it and plan to continue to offer it while just 4% are considering it for the future. Our survey also found 57% of employers offer time off for vacation and sick time, 42% offer PTO, and 1% provide no paid time off. Year-End Bonuses: The majority of employers surveyed are not offering year-end gifts or bonuses to non- managers (53%). Of those companies that are offering these, the value of the gift of bonus varies widely: • 3% indicated they will give between $1 and $25 • 9% reported their gift/bonus to be valued between $500 and $1,000 Key Takeaways from the 2016 Benefits & Policies Trends Survey • 8% will give between $1,000 and $2,499 • 4% reported value to be $2,500 and $4,999 At the $5,000 level, just 3% will give end-of-year gifts to non-managers. The majority of employers will give between $26 and $499 (19%). There is much more to learn from this year’s survey to help you benchmark your company’s benefits and policy practices for 2017. Access the report today at members-only pricing (50% off). The full report and a the involvement of counsel. Source: Archbright Legal Staff

special non-profit report are now available on Source: Whittney Dideon, Director of HR Systems & Services


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