DOL Issues Notice of Proposed Independent Contractor Rule (US)

On October 11, 2022, the Wage and Hour Division of the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that would make it more difficult for employers to properly classify workers as independent contractors under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

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Gov. Newsom Extends California COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave Through December 31, 2022 – and Other COVID-19 Updates (US)

California Governor Gavin Newsom signed into law several more employment-related bills impacting an employer’s obligations relating to COVID-19.  Of particular note, Assembly Bill 152 extends California’s 2022 COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave through December 31, 2022. This means employers with more than 25 employees must continue to provide supplemental paid sick leave to employees for COVID-19 related qualifying reasons. Importantly, AB 152 does not grant additional leave or otherwise create a new leave entitlement. Rather, AB 152 simply pushes back the sunset date for 2022 COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave to December 31, 2022, thus extending the time period in which employees can use their existing leave. Consequently, if an employee has already used their 2022 COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave earlier in the year, they are not entitled to additional leave under AB 152. AB 152 also establishes a new program for small businesses and nonprofits to provide up to $50,000 in grants to help bear some of the costs of 2022 COVID-19 SPSL.

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BREAKING: California Employers to Disclose Pay Ranges (US)

As a result of Governor Newsom’s signature on SB 1162, California will soon become the largest state requiring affirmative disclosure of pay scale information, thus contributing to the state’s ongoing effort to increase pay transparency. Effective January 1, 2023, many California employers will be required to include pay scale information in job postings and disclose pay scale information to current employees. The bill also makes significant changes to California’s existing pay data reporting requirements for private employers with 100 or more employees. Consequently, California employers must begin familiarizing themselves about the bill and its new obligations:

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Fall Season US Employment-Based Immigration Updates

The fall season brings two significant updates for US employment-based immigration: (1) the implementation of the next phase of premium processing expansion and (2) a significant retrogression of certain immigrant visa categories.

Next Phase of Premium Processing Expansion

On September 15, 2022, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced the implementation of the third phase of its expansion of premium processing. As with the first and second phases, this next phase applies specifically to pending I-140, Immigrant Petitions for Alien Workers, in the EB-1 Multinational Executive and Manager category and the EB-2 National Interest Waiver (NIW) category.

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New York City’s Private-Sector Vaccine Mandate to Expire in November (US)

On Monday, September 20, New York City Mayor Eric Adams announced that the City’s private sector COVID-19 vaccine mandate will expire on November 1, 2022. For now, the approximately 184,000 employers currently covered by the mandate will have to continue to exclude their unvaccinated workers from the workplace. However, beginning November 1, businesses will have the flexibility to decide whether workplace vaccination requirements ought to be relaxed.

You can read our previous blogpost on the topic at this link. If you have questions or need guidance, please contact your SPB lawyer.   

Right to Work Checks for UK Employers from 1 October 2022 – be prepared for changes but beware misleading information

UK employers are generally aware of the need to carry out prescribed checks to ensure their employees have the right to work, and the consequences of illegal employment (civil penalty of £20,000, risk to sponsor licence or, in extreme cases, criminal prosecution).  But the way in which the Home Office says these checks must be done is complex (its employer guidance runs to 67 pages) and continues to evolve. 

The next significant change is the anticipated removal of a Covid-related concession which has allowed employers to do checks on right to work documents remotely via a video call without seeing originals. From 1 October 2022, employers must revert to carrying out ‘manual’ in-person checks on original documents included under the Home Office’s List A and List B just as they did pre-Covid (although noting that from 6 April 2022, employers must only complete checks for Biometric Residence Card (BRC), Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) and Frontier Worker Permit (FWP) holders using the Home Office’s online right to work service). Alternatively, in the case of candidates with current British and Irish passports, the employer can engage a third-party identity service provider (IDSP) to verify those passports using Identity Document Validation Technology (IDVT) with the employer then completing the right to work check using the IDVT document provided by the IDSP.  Many employers are prepared for the end of this Covid-related concession but others are confused, not least because of a few attention-grabbing but misleading headlines. Employers should not be overly alarmed (there is still time to introduce the necessary processes) but it’s important to properly understand what is going to be required and permitted.  Here are a few busted myths as a starting point:

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Federal Trade Commission Announces Enforcement Priority to Protect Gig Workers (US)

An estimated 16% of American workers derive at least some of their annual income from “gig” work – “side hustles” whereby they (purportedly) choose from available, on-demand work opportunities, usually through internet-based platforms or apps, working when, where, and for as long as they want. However, the practical reality for many gig workers is that these drivers, shoppers, cleaners, care workers, designers, and other freelancers often find themselves constrained by concentrated markets with limited work opportunities, surprising start-up costs, unexpected contract terms, and limited opportunities for profit. As gig workers are disproportionately people of color and low wage earners, and as gig work is not guaranteed to pay a minimum wage or overtime pay, overreaching business practices of gig economy companies have the greatest impact on already vulnerable worker populations.

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Home Is Where the… Protests Are? (US)

Last Tuesday, September 13, the Ohio Supreme Court struck down a state statute that prohibited public-sector labor unions and their members from encouraging targeted picketing at the homes of public officials, stating that the law was an unconstitutional content-based restriction on free speech. The decision was unanimous as to the result, but the Justices were divided 4-3 in their reasoning.

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In the market for worker status advice? – new Guidance fails to deliver (UK)

The thing about one-stop shops is that if they do not stock what you want, they become next best thing to useless.  Anyway, welcome to the government’s new Guidance on Employment Status, expressly billed in the accompanying press release as meeting all your worker status needs in one handy document. 

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A brief and not excessively taxing guide to quiet-quitting (UK)

If you are in the habit of taking your life-advice from Tik Tok, you will have seen encouragement recently to join the “quiet-quitters”. These are the Gen Z workers who make a conscious decision to do the bare minimum at work, those who have “left the building” mentally (and if hybrid working, also physically) but have not had the decency to do so contractually as well.

The context for this new attitude is said to be two years of pandemic, a combination of lockdown, physical and mental distance from one’s employer, perhaps a spot of furlough and a resulting overwhelming sense of why bother. Research by HR benefits platform Employment Hero suggests that 51% of those surveyed feel that the pandemic and its trailing effects have reduced the importance they attach to their career to the point where [over-worked cliché alert, sorry] they now work to live where previously they may have lived to work.

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