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Be Prepared for Regulatory Changes in 2012

Dec 30, 2011 5:21 PM


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Several important policy and regulatory initiatives are set to expire and be established (respectively) as early as January 2012. These issues affect your entire company, from the business owner to the technicians to the administrative assistant. With fines as high as $50,000 for non-compliant companies, it is important to understand the changes, deadlines, and how you can protect your organization and employees.

January 2012:

  • Payroll Tax (also known as the FICA line on your paystub):
    An estimated 160 million Americans will see less money in their paychecks if a proposed payroll tax extension and expansion is not passed before December 31. The concern is how this tax cut (currently at 4.2 percent and proposed to decrease to a 3.1 percent employee contribution) will be funded.
    Additionally, the proposal allows the employer contribution to be cut from 6.2 percent down to 3.1 percent as well. Currently, there is enough federal revenue to offset the costs, but the concern is that funding this would mean the government would have to dip into the Social Security trust fund. This creates more of a long-term problem and shifts the focus on to what the bigger issues are—the desire to increase taxes on the wealthy and the demand to cut spending.

  • Notification of Employee Rights:

The National Labor Relations Board issued a final rule, effective Jan. 31, 2012, requiring most private-sector employers to notify employees of their rights under the National Labor Relations Act by posting a notice. Similar postings of workplace rights are required under other federal workplace laws. The 11”x17” notice is similar in content and design to a notice of NLRA rights that must be posted by federal contractors under a Department of Labor rule.

The notice of rights will be provided at no charge by NLRB regional offices or can be downloaded from its website and printed in color or black-and-white. Translated versions will be available and must be posted at workplaces where at least 20 percent of employees are not proficient in English.

Employers must also post the notice on an Intranet or Internet site if personnel rules and policies are customarily posted there. Failure to post the notice may be treated as an unfair labor practice under the National Labor Relations Act, but it is important to note the NLRB cannot fine a business. To print the posting or read more about the rule, visit www.nlrb.gov.

March 2012:

  • Changes in the Americans with Disabilities Act Standards for Accessible Design:

Effective March 15, 2012, all newly constructed or altered public and private facilities must be compliant with the 2010 standards. These new standards affect Assistive Listening Systems, such as installation requirements and quantities needed. More information will be available at www.nsca.org/governmentaffairs in the coming weeks. Non-compliance could warrant up to $110 in fines for each offense.

Knowing and understanding policy and regulatory initiatives are critical for successful business management. NSCA monitors and educates its members on initiatives both harmful and helpful to the commercial electronic systems industry. For more information on these issues and more, visit www.nsca.org/governmentaffairs.



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