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US Department of Labor Proposes New (and Relaxed) Independent Contractor Test (US)

On September 22, 2020, the US Department of Labor (DOL) issued proposed regulations aimed at codifying the classification of independent contractors under federal wage and hour law. If adopted—and the DOL has indicated it plans to fast-track the rulemaking process in order to issue final regulations by January 2021—the rule change would significantly relax the … Continue Reading

Department of Labor Issues Updated Families First Coronavirus Response Act Regulations, But Does Little To Resolve Employer Uncertainty (US)

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) was enacted on March 18, 2020. The sweeping federal legislation provides emergency paid sick leave (EPSL) and expanded paid Family and Medical Leave (EFML) to certain covered workers impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. On April 1, 2020, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) issued regulations implementing the FFCRA … Continue Reading

Department of Labor Issues Opinion Letter Clarifying Availability of Fluctuating Workweek Method of Calculating Overtime (US)

In the U.S., employees must be paid overtime compensation at a rate of one-and-one-half times their regular rate of pay for all hours worked in excess of forty (40) per workweek unless specifically exempted by law. For many employees, this means payment of a straight time hourly rate, and then payment of one-and-one-half times that … Continue Reading

Department of Labor Schools Parents On Leave Options During Virtual Learning (US)

We previously blogged on the myriad challenges faced by workers whose children are returning to school this fall: some online, some in-person, and some a combination of both. As we noted in our prior post, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), which is effective through December 31, 2020, provides up to eighty (80) hours … Continue Reading

FLSA Compliance Update: Employers Must Exercise Reasonable Diligence In Tracking Hours Worked By Remote Workers (US)  

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many employers have implemented teleworking and other remote work arrangements for their employees. Because these employees are not physically present in the workplace, there has been some uncertainty surrounding what obligations employers have to under the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) to monitor and track hours worked by non-exempt, hourly … Continue Reading

School’s Out For….Ever?? Preparing for COVID-19-Related Attendance Challenges (US)

It seems like just yesterday that spring school terms were cancelled thanks to the coronavirus. Employees left the workplace en masse, sometimes without choice thanks to government shutdown orders, while others left suddenly to begin involuntary tours of duty as homeschool teachers with no training whatsoever, myself included. (My daughter’s strident request for a substitute … Continue Reading

DOL Update: COVID-19-Related Guidance and New Opinion Letters (US)

During the week of June 22, 2020, the U.S. Department of Labor (“DOL”) Wage and Hour Division (“WHD”) issued three Field Assistance Bulletins, each providing guidance to WHD field staff regarding three unique compliance issues related to the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, on June 25, 2020, the DOL released five fact-specific opinion letters discussing various … Continue Reading

DHS Extends Flexibility Relating to I-9 Execution for Remote Workers While Increasing Civil Penalties for Violations (US)

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS), U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) recently announced another extension, through July 19, 2020, of its COVID-19 temporary policy of deferring the physical presence requirements associated with Form I-9 compliance in relation to hiring and re-verifying certain remote employees.  However, within days of announcing this reprieve for employers, DHS … Continue Reading

New Electronic Delivery Option for ERISA Retirement Plan Information (US)

There is a new electronic delivery option for retirement plan sponsors who are looking for an easier and more efficient means of providing required plan information disclosures to plan participants and beneficiaries. Retirement plan administrators can now electronically notify participants and beneficiaries that certain disclosures are available on a specified website. In addition, retirement plan … Continue Reading

Department of Labor Continues to Loosen Restrictions on Calculating Overtime (US)

In what Labor Secretary Eugene Scalia called a step in the US Department of Labor’s (DOL) goal of lessening “unnecessary regulatory burdens” on businesses, on May 20, 2020 the DOL released a final rule regarding the calculation of overtime for salaried non-exempt workers with fluctuating workweeks. The rule change may encourage payment of additional incentive … Continue Reading

Department of Labor Clarifies Retail and Service Establishment Exemption from Overtime (US)

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has issued a new rule regarding the interpretation of Section 7(i) of the Fair Labor Standards Act, an overtime exemption applicable to employees of certain retail and service establishments who are paid in part via commissions. The statute provides that an employer shall not be deemed to have violated … Continue Reading

US Department of Labor Issues Additional Informal Guidance on Families First Coronavirus Response Act (US)

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) has been in effect for nearly six weeks and, as practical challenges with interpreting and implementing the Act surface, the Department of Labor (DOL) continues to update its informal guidance in piecemeal fashion. On May 12, 2020, the DOL added five additional questions and answers to its FFCRA … Continue Reading

US DOL Provides More Guidance On Pandemic Unemployment Assistance: Restrictions on Eligibility, Summer Break Limitations, Gig Worker Benefits, and More (US)

As most everyone now knows, among other things, the massive $2 trillion-plus CARES Act created multiple federal unemployment compensation programs for individuals impacted by the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19). These programs provide federal funding to the states to administer and provide unemployment compensation assistance to a broad range of COVID-19-impacted employees including, notably, those who … Continue Reading

OSHA Interim Response Plan for COVID-19 Issued to Guide Agency Action, But Just as Useful for Employers (US)

From our colleagues at the FrESH Law Blog comes a post analyzing the US Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) recent Interim Enforcement Response Plan for Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). Since the COVID-19 pandemic first hit the United States in early 2020, OSHA has been issuing COVID-19 guidance to employers on appropriate ways to address … Continue Reading

WEBINAR April 21 – US ESH Webinar Series – COVID-19: Safety and Health Law on the New Frontier (US)

While COVID-19 has turned everyone’s focus toward safety and health generally, it has forced US employers specifically to focus on the safety and health of their employees during an unprecedented time. Employers in the US have common law and statutory duties to ensure safe workplaces, but the COVID-19 pandemic has greatly disrupted many of the … Continue Reading

US Department of Labor Clarifies Employer Obligations to Record COVID-19 Cases (US)

On April 10, 2020, the US Department of Labor’s (“DOL”) Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) issued interim guidance on employers’ duties as they relate to recording cases of COVID-19. OSHA’s position—effective immediately and for the duration of the public health crisis—is that employers must report to OSHA any confirmed COVID-19 illness diagnosis (defined as … Continue Reading

Update on Federal Agency Activity – EEOC, NLRB, OSHA, and DOL – Amidst the COVID-19 Crisis (US)

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a major impact on all aspects of life for all Americans and we are all still adjusting to this new “normal,” which is anything but normal.  Federal administrative agencies and their employees of course have not been immune to the effects of the current crisis and they, like private sector … Continue Reading

REMINDER: Webinar on April 13 and Summary of Families First Coronavirus Response Act Analysis (US)

Throughout this past week, we have provided a comprehensive analysis of the various provisions of the federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), the first ever federal law requiring the payment of paid sick leave and paid family leave for various COVID-19-related reasons.  These daily updates include consideration of employer and employee coverage; qualifying reasons … Continue Reading

SPB IN-DEPTH ANALYSIS – The Families First Coronavirus Response Act – Part Five of a Five-Part Series (US)

Previous installments of our series analyzing in detail the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) and the regulations interpreting that law issued by the US Department of Labor addressed the following issues: Part One – employee eligibility and employer coverage; Part Two – the coronavirus-specific circumstances why eligible employees may take paid leave; Part Three … Continue Reading

Update on Most Recent US DOL Guidance on Unemployment Provisions of CARES Act (US)

The US Department of Labor (DOL) has issued a number of publications offering guidance to the states for implementing certain federal unemployment insurance provisions contained in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), including the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC), and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) programs.  As … Continue Reading

SPB IN-DEPTH ANALYSIS: The Families First Coronavirus Response Act – Part Four of a Five-Part Series (US)

The first three installments of our five-part series analyzing the US Department of Labor regulations interpreting the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) examined eligibility and coverage issues.  Part One looked at which employees are eligible to take, and which employers are required to provide, emergency paid sick leave and public health emergency paid family … Continue Reading

SPB IN-DEPTH ANALYSIS:  The Families First Coronavirus Response Act – Part Three of a Five-Part Series (US)

The first two installments of our five-part in-depth analysis of the emergency paid sick leave and public health emergency paid family leave provisions of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) – see here and here – analyzed the statutory language and regulations governing employer coverage, employee eligibility, the circumstances under which employees can request … Continue Reading

SPB IN-DEPTH ANALYSIS:  The Families First Coronavirus Response Act – Part Two of a Five-Part Series (US)

In the first part of our in-depth analysis of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) and its accompanying regulations, we addressed employer coverage and employee eligibility issues under the new law.   In the second installment of this series, we turn to looking at the coronavirus-specific reasons upon which an employee can obtain FFCRA leave, … Continue Reading

SPB IN-DEPTH ANALYSIS:  The Families First Coronavirus Response Act – Part One of a Five-Part Series (US)

During the second half of March 2020, the US Congress passed three landmark pieces of legislation addressing the COVID-19 (a/k/a novel coronavirus) pandemic.  One of these was the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA).  Under this law, employers of fewer than 500 employees are required to provide eligible employees with up to 80 hours of … Continue Reading
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