Category Archives: Department of Labor

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COBRA Election and Enrollment Deadlines Extended During COVID-19 ‘Outbreak Period’

On May 4, 2020, in response to the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), Department of the Treasury, and the Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA), Department of Labor, issued rules extending deadlines for participants and beneficiaries of certain group health, disability, and welfare plans to make certain benefit elections, give certain … Continue Reading

Fewer Commissioned Employees Eligible for Overtime Under New Employer-Friendly Department of Labor Rule

The United States Department of Labor (DOL) issued revised regulations on May 18, 2020, effectively expanding the exemptions under Section 7(i) of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), which permits certain commissioned employees of “retail or service establishments” to be considered exempt from overtime. Designed to “reduce confusion,” the new rule, which takes effect immediately, … Continue Reading

DOJ and FTC Issue Joint Antitrust Statements for Businesses and Workers in Response to COVID-19 Pandemic

In April, the Antitrust Division of the Department of Justice and the Bureau of Competition of the Federal Trade Commission released a Joint Statement, warning they are “on alert” and will scrutinize employers – especially employers of front-line and essential workers such as doctors, nurses, grocery store employees, pharmacists, and warehouse workers – who engage in … Continue Reading

New Jersey to Permit Curbside Pickup at Non-Essential Retail Businesses, Non-Essential Construction, and Gatherings in Cars

On May 13, 2020, in a step towards reopening New Jersey’s economy during the COVID-19 pandemic, Gov. Phil Murphy signed Executive Order No. 142, which among other things (i) permits “non-essential” retail businesses to operate on a “curbside pickup” basis, and (ii) lifts the ban on non-essential construction projects. Executive Order No. 142 modifies earlier Executive … Continue Reading

Massachusetts Announces Four-Phase Reopening Approach and Mandatory Workplace Safety Standards

On May 11, 2020, Massachusetts Gov. Baker announced a four-phase approach to reopening the Massachusetts economy in light of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. The phased reopening is based on public health guidance, and is intended to allow certain businesses, services, and activities to resume, while aiming to protect public health and limit a … Continue Reading

The Interplay Between the Massachusetts Unemployment Assistance Program, the Massachusetts WorkShare Program, and the Enhanced Unemployment Benefits in the CARES Act

The current COVID-19 public health crisis has brought about significant changes to unemployment benefit programs at the state and federal levels. This GT Alert discusses these changes, the interplay between the state and federal unemployment laws, and provides an overview of the Massachusetts WorkShare program, which may provide greater flexibility to employers and benefits to … Continue Reading

The CARES Act and the Self-Employed: A Primer

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) offers economic aid, such as small business loans and unemployment assistance, to self-employed individuals who traditionally have not been eligible for such benefits. Businesses that rely on gig-economy workers may classify these individuals as independent contractors instead of employees, leaving such workers with limited options … Continue Reading

Georgia Department of Labor Issues Emergency Rule Requiring Employers to File Claims for Employees Affected By COVID-19

On March 16, 2020, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the state of emergency proclaimed by federal and state governments, the Georgia Department of Labor issued a new Emergency Rule. This new Rule shifts the burden of filing claims for unemployment compensation from employees to employers. Specifically, starting after the week of March 15, … Continue Reading

Joint Employment Update: NLRB Issues Final Rule; 17 States Sue to Enjoin New DOL Rule

On the heels of our reporting that new DOL joint employment regulations are set to take effect March 16, the NLRB jumped into the fray and issued a final rule effective April 27, 2020, restoring a joint employment standard that had been followed for several decades prior to the Browning-Ferris decision issued by the Obama-controlled … Continue Reading

Some Relief: DOL Provides Flexibility and Clarity With New Joint Employer Rules

See our Feb. 28 update regarding the new joint employer rule. On March 16, 2020, new rules on joint employment status under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) will go into effect. The new rules should provide clarity and relief for employers struggling to determine whether they would be treated as joint employers by the … Continue Reading

Reminder: Jan. 1, 2020, Effective Date Quickly Approaching for New Overtime Rules

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) final rule raising the annual minimum salary requirements for the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) overtime exemptions for executive, administrative, and professional employees is effective Jan. 1, 2020. Employers who have not yet begun or completed their audit and review of their employee classifications should immediately start the process … Continue Reading

Department of Labor Announces Final Changes to Overtime Rules

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) on Sept. 24, 2019, announced a final rule raising the annual minimum salary requirements for the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) overtime exemptions for executive, administrative, and professional employees. The final rule, effective Jan. 1, 2020, will significantly impact businesses. Experts predict the rule could result in the reclassification … Continue Reading

IRS Expands Retirement Plan Self-Correction Program

Our January 2019 GT Benefits and Compensation Alert addressed the unprecedented level of potential liability for compliance failures in 401(k) and other retirement plans and the importance of performing a plan compliance review and correcting plan document or operational failures before an IRS auditor knocks on the door. Doing nothing and playing the audit lottery … Continue Reading

Court of Appeals Upholds DOL’s Interpretation of NY’s Minimum Wage Order as Applied to Live-In Home Health Aides

On March 26, 2019, in a 5-2 ruling, the Court of Appeals ruled in favor of providers in a critical decision affecting home health care. Andryeyeva v. N.Y. Health Care, Inc. and Moreno v. Future Care Health Servs. et al. was a joint appeal in a case that threatened to eviscerate an important economic constraint … Continue Reading

Department of Labor Proposes Changes to Overtime Rules

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) on March 7, 2019, issued a new proposed rule raising the annual minimum salary requirements for the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) overtime exemptions for executive, administrative, and professional employees. Under the new rule, the salary level for these “white collar” exemptions will increase from $23,660 per year ($455 per week) … Continue Reading

New Year’s Resolution: Prepare Yourself for an IRS or DOL Plan Audit

How confident are you that your company’s retirement plans are being run in accordance with all legal requirements under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) and the Internal Revenue Code (IRC)? Are you comfortable with the integrity of the annual representations made to your plan auditor that key benefit-plan controls are in place to … Continue Reading

Supreme Court Rejects Practice of Construing Fair Labor Standards Act Exemptions Narrowly

On April 2, 2018, in a 5-4 decision, the United States Supreme Court held that automobile service advisors are not entitled to overtime pay. Although the precise holding is of limited application because few companies outside car dealerships employ individuals as automobile service advisors, the Supreme Court’s analysis will have wide-reaching application. Departing from years … Continue Reading

Federal Law Reaches a Tipping Point

On March 23, 2018, President Trump signed into law the 2,232-page Omnibus Appropriations bill – HR 1625, Consolidated Appropriations Act for FY 2018, which funds the government for the rest of the fiscal year. Included in that bill were a few paragraphs that prohibit restaurant owners from sharing server tips with supervisors, managers, or themselves. … Continue Reading

GT’s Labor & Employment Law Update 2017

The past year saw many significant developments in the area of labor and employment law at all levels of government. Simply by way of example, new legislation imposed additional obligations on employers that operate in New Jersey and New York; federal Courts of Appeals “clarified” standards applicable to workplace discrimination claims; and under the Trump … Continue Reading

U.S. Department of Labor Reverses Course on Employment Status of Interns

On Jan. 5, 2018, the United States Department of Labor (DOL) announced that it will utilize the so-called “primary beneficiary” test to determine whether interns are employees under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).  This announcement marks a significant policy change from the DOL’s previous guidance which had been criticized by several courts as overly … Continue Reading

NLRB Overturns 4 Decisions that Adversely Impacted Employers

Just this month, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB or the Board) successively overturned four decisions that adversely impacted employers and were made while President Obama was in office. The earlier decisions expanded the definition of “joint employer”; scrutinized neutrally-worded work rules; required employers to notify and provide an opportunity to bargain to unions prior … Continue Reading

Closing the Salary Gap & Practical Tips for Employers

Given the national spotlight on pay equity, in 2016 there was a radical change in the equal pay legal landscape, as federal administrative agencies and states implemented laws and regulations to improve and enforce pay equity for individuals in protected classes (i.e., sex, race, ethnicity, gender identity, color, religion, national origin, and sexual orientation). Prior … Continue Reading

Court Invalidates DOL Overtime Rule, Holds Increased Salary Test is Contrary to Congressional Intent and Exceeds DOL Authority

On Nov. 22, 2016, a Texas federal court stayed implementation of the U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) rule amendment which would have roughly doubled the minimum salary threshold for many employees to be considered exempt from federal overtime requirements under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).  On Aug. 31, 2017, the same court declared that … Continue Reading

OSHA Gets a Green Light: Court Refuses to Stop OSHA from Enforcing its New Anti-Retaliation Standards

On Nov. 28, 2016, the United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas declined to grant a nationwide preliminary injunction enjoining the Department of Labor (DOL) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) from enforcing subparagraphs 1904.35(b)(1)(i), (iii), and (iv) of the final rule issued by OSHA titled “Improve Tracking Workplace Injuries … Continue Reading
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