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Federal Court Decision On WARN Act And COVID-19 Could Signal Problems For Larger Employers (US)

UPDATE: On January 21, 2021, the defendants filed a motion with the district court for permission to take an interlocutory appeal to the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals on the following question: “What causal standard is required to establish that a plant closing or mass layoff is “due to any form of natural disaster” under … Continue Reading

US Department of Labor Releases Final Rule Clarifying Standard for Independent Contractor Versus Employee Determination Under FLSA (US)

On January 6, 2021, the Department of Labor (“DOL”) announced a final rule clarifying the standard under the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) for determining whether a worker is an independent contractor versus an employee. This distinction in critical under the FLSA, as employers must comply with its minimum wage and overtime requirements for employees, … Continue Reading

DHS Doubles Down On H-1Bs: Publishes Rule Implementing Wage-Based Changes to the Annual H-1B Lottery (US)

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) published a Final Rule, which, if left intact, will implement major changes to the H-1B visa program. The new rule would do away with the random lottery system currently used to issue the annual quota of 85,000 new H-1B visas and replace it with a selection system weighted to … Continue Reading

EEOC Announces Intent to Provide Official Agency Interpretations of Federal Employment Discrimination Laws In Response to Public Requests (US)

Except for a brief hiatus between 2010 and 2017 (see here), the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has for decades issued formal opinion letters in response to requests from employers, employees, and others for the DOL’s official interpretation of novel or complex issues relating to the application of the minimum wage and overtime compensation provisions … Continue Reading

Feeling Lucky?: DHS Proposes Wage-Based Changes to its Annual H-1B Lottery (US)

On Wednesday, October 28, 2020, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced another proposed change to the H-1B visa program.  The new rule would do away with the random lottery system currently used to issue the annual quota of 85,000 H-1B visas and replace it with a new lottery system weighted to favor applications with … Continue Reading

US Immigration Update: Must Be the Season of the Witch

It’s been a frenetic October and we’re still in the first week. Here is a quick summary of significant developments in U.S. Immigration just within the past few days. Federal District Court Issues Preliminary Injunction Halting Implementation of Nonimmigrant Visa Ban On October 1, 2020 Judge Jeffrey S. White of the District Court for the … Continue Reading

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
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