The executive compensation landscape has continuously evolved over the years. Companies have been confronted with shifting regulatory standards, competitive global markets, and economic challenges and demands. These developments require businesses to re-evaluate their existing executive compensation strategies and policies and turn them into a more effective and advanced program to mitigate risk exposure and legal liabilities.
The SECURE Act, an acronym for “Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement Act” was signed into law on December 20, 2019, as part of a massive compromise government spending bill. The Act represents the most significant reform of the retirement system since the Pension Protection Act of 2006.
As the 2020 proxy season comes to a close, we reflect on the third year that CEO pay ratio disclosure under Section 953(b) of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act and Item 402(u) of Regulation S-K has been required annual disclosure for public companies. Compliance should be easier for companies that have already made pay ratio disclosures in 2018, 2019 and 2020. However, companies that have been using the same median employee will need to dust off employee census data and identify a new median employee next year whose compensation will be the basis of comparison. The impact of COVID-19 on the corporate workforce may also necessitate identifying a new median employee for companies that have initiated a reduction in force.
Regulatory uptakes on anti-competitive restrictions in labor markets is expected to ramp up with the Department of Justice (DOJ) Antitrust Division and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in the lead. Recently, the DOJ filed Statement of Interest on several pending cases to provide courts with significant guidance on the analysis of “no-poach” agreements and clarified that alleged cases of “no-poach” agreements do not automatically warrant per se review.
Supporting diversity in the workplace is an essential factor that organizations must consider to ensure their success. With an ample understanding of how to effectively manage diversity and inclusion, companies will have an upper hand when it comes to recruiting and hiring talents. However, it has also become a challenge for this generation's leadership to make their organization more diverse and inclusive.
Issues concerning employee misclassification continue to grow, as employers often misunderstand the legal distinctions between employees and independent contractors. While many employers are tempted to hire and classify their workers as independent contractors, they often fail to appreciate both the legal requirements necessary to accomplish this, and the disastrous financial outcomes that can result from their mistake. It is essential that employers understand and follow the complex and often confusing rules issued by state and federal agencies as well as the U.S. courts.
The COVID-19 virus has posed unprecedented challenges for employers of all sizes. Agencies at the federal, state, and local levels are issuing a stream of guidance and orders that are updated on a daily basis. Relatedly, employers are trying to familiarize themselves with the obligations imposed and benefits conferred by a barrage of new legislation.