Latest News

Average Hourly Earnings Increase 0.3% in February, CPI Increases 0.2%

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has reported that real average hourly earnings for all employees increased 0.3 percent from January to February. This result stems from a 0.4-percent increase in average hourly earnings combined with a 0.2-percent increase in the Consumer Price Index (CPI). Real average hourly earnings increased 1.9 percent from February 2018 to February 2019; during this same time period, the CPI increased 1.5 percent.

Arizona Federal Judge Enters Judgment for Terminated Employee who was Terminated After Testing Positive for Marijuana

An Arizona federal district court judge has entered judgment against Walmart for terminating the employment of an employee who had been prescribed medical marijuana. The court did so because Walmart had not established through expert evidence that the employee was impaired by marijuana at work despite high levels of marijuana in the results of her drug test. Therefore, the court held employee's termination was contrary to the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act. Like employers in Connecticut and Massachusetts, now employers in Arizona must be careful before they terminate an employee or reject an applicant for testing positive for marijuana. We recommend all employers have SESCO review their Employee Handbook on annual basis to ensure compliance with all federal and state laws.
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What Employers Need to Know About COBRA Coverage

When the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was signed some nine years ago, many employers wondered what would become of COBRA (the continuation coverage requirements of the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act). And yet, COBRA seems as strong as ever. Most employers are no strangers to the basic requirements of COBRA. In general, employees (and their spouses and dependents) who lose coverage under an employer’s health plan due to termination of employment or reduction of hours are entitled to continue that coverage for up to 18 months. The 18-month period may be extended to 29 months in the event of a disability, and spouses and dependents have additional COBRA rights to elect up to 36 months of coverage due to certain other qualifying events including divorce or the employee’s death. Not surprisingly, however, the COBRA rules are complex, and we frequently field questions from employers.
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"Thanks, Brenda. I appreciate all of the help and hard work you put into our handbook. It was a pretty hefty task, and you did a great job. Thanks again."

– Tony Vermaas — Sobie Company, Inc.

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