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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

A Guide for Employers Considering A Mandatory Flu Vaccination Policy (US)

As if 2020 hasn’t already presented more than its fair share of challenges, flu season is now rapidly approaching. Combined with the still ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, employers are more concerned than ever before with ensuring that their employees stay healthy and productive. As a result, many employers are weighing the pros and cons of encouraging, … Continue Reading

California’s COVID-19 Sick Leave: Expanded and Articulated (US)

AB 1867 was signed into law by Governor Newsom on September 9, 2020. The purpose of the bill is to eliminate gaps in coverage so that many more employee have access to paid sick days if they are exposed to or test positive for COVID-19 in 2020. This means that the new law applies to … 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

EEOC Provides Welcome COVID-19-Related Guidance To Employers As Employees Return To The Workplace (US)

On September 8, 2020, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued updated guidance concerning COVID-19 and the workplace. The update provides much-needed answers to questions that have been troubling employers struggling to adapt to circumstances presented by the still-ongoing public health emergency. Can we test employees for COVID-19 prior to allowing them back in … 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

IRS Guidance on the Payroll Tax Executive Order (US)

On August 8, 2020, President Trump issued an Executive Order titled “Memorandum on Deferring Payroll Tax Obligations in Light of the Ongoing COVID-19 Disaster” (the “Order”)[1]. The Order directs the Secretary of the Treasury to permit deferral of employee Old Age, Survivors and Disability Insurance (“OASDI”) taxes for payroll dates on and after September 1, … 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

DHS Finalizes a New Fee Schedule to Take Effect on October 2, 2020 (US)

The Final Rule   A final rule was published in the Federal Register on August 3, 2020, which considerably increases USCIS’ fees and makes other changes to immigration benefits. DHS originally announced a proposed rule in November 2019; however, the final rule differs in certain aspects from the original proposal. Under the final rule, the fee … Continue Reading

Unpacking National Interest Exception Requirements to Recent Presidential Proclamations Suspending Entry of Immigrants and Nonimmigrants: Hoops and Hurdles Remain (US)

On August 12, 2020, the U.S. State Department issued new guidance (“State Department Guidance”) on parameters for National Interest Exceptions to Presidential Proclamation 10052. As our previous post outlined, Proclamation 10052 suspended U.S. entry for certain nonimmigrants on H-1B (specialty occupation), H-2B (temporary workers), L-1 (intracompany transferees), and J-1 (exchange visitors participating in the intern, … Continue Reading

EEOC Issues Guidance Clarifying When Opioid Users are Protected From Disability Discrimination Under the ADA (US)

Opioid abuse is widespread in America and the opioid epidemic impacts people from all walks of life, which presents unique challenges for employers who want to limit the potentially adverse effects opioid use may have on their employees and their workplaces. Given the severity of the crisis, it is tempting for employers to want to … Continue Reading

Executive Order Regarding Payroll Taxes (US)

On Saturday, August 8, 2020, President Trump issued an executive order titled “Memorandum on Deferring Payroll Tax Obligations in Light of the Ongoing COVID-19 Disaster” (the “Order”)[1]. The Order provides for the deferral of certain payroll taxes. The Order will be effective for wages paid on or after September 1, 2020 and will have to … Continue Reading

Executive Order Sets Stage for Restrictions on Government Contractor Visas and Offshoring (US)

On August 3, 2020, President Trump signed an Executive Order (“Aligning Federal Contracting and Hiring Practices With the Interests of American Workers” hereafter “Executive Order”) calling for a broad review of the government’s use of visa holders and outsourcing across its extensive government contracting networks. The White House announced that the Executive Order is, at … Continue Reading

Federal Appeals Court Allows Title VII “Sex-Plus-Age” Claims (US)

The Tenth Circuit – covering Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming – just became the first federal appellate court to explicitly rule that employees can bring “sex-plus-age” claims against employers under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964—a claim alleging discrimination on the basis of gender against individuals over the age … Continue Reading

Pennsylvania Hazard Pay for COVID-19 Frontline Workers (US)

On July 16, 2020, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf announced a hazard pay grant program to help employers provide additional pay for employees engaged in life-sustaining occupations during the COVID-19 pandemic.  This hazard pay is funded by $50 million from the CARES Act and is intended to recognize and reward frontline workers and to help eligible … Continue Reading

Supreme Court Ruling Limits Insurer and Employer Contraceptive Obligations (US)

Earlier this month the Supreme Court of the United States upheld a regulation adopted under the Trump administration significantly cutting back the requirement that insurers and group health plans provide coverage for contraceptives without cost sharing under the Affordable Care Act (ACA).… 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

WEBINAR July 23: Anti-Racism and the Workplace: Employment Challenges and Opportunities in the US

After the recent high-profile deaths of Black Americans due to police use of force, discussions of systemic racism are now front and center in all organizations. Please join Squire Patton Boggs partners Carmen Cole, Meghan Hill and Katharine Liao on Thursday, July 23 at 1 p.m. EDT for an open and candid discussion about the … Continue Reading

Sixth Circuit Reverses Ohio Federal Court: Genetic Mutation Affecting Normal Cell Growth May Qualify as a Disability under the ADA (US)

In a previous blog, we discussed Darby v. Childvine, a decision from the United States District Court for the Southern District of Ohio in which the court considered whether an otherwise healthy person with a genetic mutation meets the definition of disabled under the federal Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”).  As a reminder, the ADA … Continue Reading

OSHA Updates Guidance On COVID-19-Related Workplace Safety (US)

As businesses continue to reopen and more workers return to the workplace despite significant increases in infection rates in some parts of the country, many questions have surfaced about employers’ obligations to provide employees with a safe workplace. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recently updated its informal COVID-19-related guidance to address a number … Continue Reading

U.S. Supreme Court Adopts Broad Interpretation of the “Ministerial Exception,” Protecting Religious Schools Against Employment Discrimination Claims (US)

The religious education and formation of students is the very reason for the existence of most private religious schools, and therefore the selection and supervision of the teachers upon whom the schools rely to do this work lie at the core of their mission. Judicial review of the way in which religious schools discharge those … Continue Reading

Black Lives Matter, Racial Unrest and Corporate Culture – How Do Employers Respond? (US)

As the daily news continues to show protests and calls for justice in response to the death of George Floyd and others at the hands of police officers, there is, unsurprisingly, a desire from employees to hear from their employers regarding the ongoing violence and racial unrest in our communities and across the country. Many … 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
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