U.S. Department of Labor

The U.S. Department of Labor Issues Proposed Regulations to Determine Independent Contractor Status Under the Fair Labor Standards Act

September 24, 2020

By Subhash Viswanathan

On September 22, 2020, the U.S. Department of Labor (USDOL) issued proposed regulations regarding the determination of whether an individual is an employee under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) or an independent contractor who is not subject to the FLSA's minimum wage and overtime requirements. The proposed regulations are expected to be published in the Federal Register on September 25, and comments can be submitted for 30 days after publication. If the proposed regulations are adopted, it will likely be easier for businesses to classify employees as independent contractors under the FLSA.

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The U.S. Department of Labor Issues Revised FFCRA Regulations in Response to District Court Decision

September 18, 2020

By Mary E. Aldridge

On September 11, 2020, the United States Department of Labor (USDOL) issued revisions to the Temporary Rule it issued on April 1, 2020, implementing the employee leave provisions of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). The revisions respond to the August 3 decision by the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York (District Court) that invalidated certain parts of the Temporary Rule. The revised regulations took effect on September 16, 2020.

In its August 3 decision, the District Court ruled that four parts of the Temporary Rule were invalid: (1) the requirement that an employee may only take FFCRA leave if there is work available from which to take leave; (2) the requirement that an employee may take intermittent FFCRA leave only with employer consent; (3) the definition of a “health care provider” whom an employer may exclude from taking FFCRA leave; and (4) the requirement that employees who take FFCRA leave must provide certain documentation to their employer prior to taking leave.

The Department reconsidered the portions of the Temporary Rule that the District Court held were invalid. It reaffirmed the regulations in part, revised the regulations in part, and provided further explanation of its rationale for its regulations.

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Federal Court in New York Strikes Down USDOL Regulation Concerning Joint Employment

September 17, 2020

By Nicholas P. Jacobson

Earlier this year, the United States Department of Labor (“USDOL”) issued new regulations regarding joint employment under the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”).  Seventeen states (including New York) and the District of Columbia subsequently filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York to challenge the USDOL’s adoption of its new joint employment regulations.  The Court recently issued a decision in that lawsuit, holding that the USDOL's joint employment regulations relating to vertical joint employer liability should be vacated because they conflict with the definitions contained in the FLSA and are arbitrary and capricious.

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USDOL Issues Guidance on Tracking Compensable Hours of Remote Employees

September 9, 2020

By Hannah K. Redmond

On August 24, 2020, the United States Department of Labor (DOL) issued guidance to assist employers in complying with their obligation to track compensable hours of employees working in remote or telework arrangements.  While this guidance was issued in response to the increase in remote work due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it applies to all employees working remotely for any reason.

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Federal District Court in New York Holds that Portions of the FFCRA Regulations Exceeded the USDOL's Statutory Authority

August 7, 2020

By Mary E. Aldridge and Subhash Viswanathan

On August 3, 2020, the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York held that the U.S. Department of Labor ("DOL") exceeded its statutory authority by promulgating certain regulations implementing the Families First Coronavirus Response Act ("FFCRA"). The FFCRA, which was enacted on March 18, 2020, is one of the major relief statutes passed by Congress in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. It contains two major provisions: (1) the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act ("EFMLA"), which grants paid leave to employees who are unable to work because they must care for a dependent child due to the closure of the child's school or place of child care; and (2) the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act ("EPSLA"), which requires covered employers to provide paid sick leave to employees for one of six qualifying COVID-19-related reasons.

The State of New York brought suit against the DOL pursuant to the Administrative Procedure Act, challenging several features of the DOL's regulations on the ground that they unduly restricted the paid leave available to employees under the statute. The Court, in large part, agreed with the State.

Read More >> Federal District Court in New York Holds that Portions of the FFCRA Regulations Exceeded the USDOL's Statutory Authority

Positive Developments for New York Employers on the Use of the Fluctuating Workweek Method of Computing Overtime Compensation

June 24, 2020

By Subhash Viswanathan

On June 8, the U.S. Department of Labor issued its final rule to provide some clarity for employers seeking to use the fluctuating workweek method of computing overtime compensation under the Fair Labor Standards Act. The final rule, which is essentially the same as the proposed rule that was issued on November 5, 2019, lists each of the five requirements for using the fluctuating workweek method separately and explicitly states that bonuses, premium payments, and other additional payments of any kind are compatible with the use of the fluctuating workweek method. The final rule becomes effective on August 7.

About one week after the USDOL's fluctuating workweek rule was issued, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals (the Federal appellate court with jurisdiction over employers in New York) issued a decision in the case of Thomas et al. v. Bed Bath & Beyond Inc. In the Bed Bath & Beyond case, the Second Circuit affirmed the dismissal of a collective action filed by a group of Department Managers who alleged that Bed Bath & Beyond had improperly used the fluctuating workweek method to pay them overtime.

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Department of Labor Issues Temporary Regulations on the Families First Coronavirus Response Act

April 3, 2020

By Theresa E. Rusnak

On April 1, 2020, the Department of Labor (DOL) published the first regulations on the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). As a reminder, the FFRCA became effective on April 1 as well, and provides for Emergency Family and Medical Leave (EFMLA) and Emergency Paid Sick Leave (EPSL). Both laws apply to private employers with fewer than 500 employees, as well as some public employers. 

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U.S. Department of Labor Issues Questions and Answers Regarding the Families First Coronavirus Response Act

March 30, 2020

By Adam P. Mastroleo

On March 18, 2020, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (“FFCRA”) was enacted.  The statute left many questions regarding its implementation and administration unanswered.  Over the past several days, the U.S. Department of Labor (the “DOL”) has been publishing questions and answers addressing some of these unanswered questions.  Here is a summary of some of the key information provided by the DOL.

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The COVID-19 Pandemic: Recommendations for Employers

March 16, 2020

By Monica C. Barrett and Subhash Viswanathan

The COVID-19 pandemic has already caused severe disruption to many businesses across the country. Employers will be required to continue to monitor developments and adjust to changing circumstances in the coming weeks and possibly months. We provide the following recommendations for employers in dealing with the many employment-related issues that will inevitably arise.

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U.S. Department of Labor Adopts Joint Employer Regulations

January 31, 2020

By Paul J. Buehler III

On January 16, 2020, the Wage and Hour Division of the United States Department of Labor (“DOL”) published its final rule to revise and update its regulations regarding joint employer status.  The final rule largely adopts the proposed rule the DOL published in April of 2019, which we wrote about here.  The final regulations become effective March 16, 2020, and mark the first significant revision since they were enacted in 1958.  Employers should take note of these new regulations because if an employee is found to be jointly employed by two employers, both employers are jointly and severally liable for all wages owed to that employee, including overtime wages.

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U.S. Department of Labor's Updated Regulations Clarify Exclusions From the Regular Rate

January 31, 2020

By Subhash Viswanathan

The U.S. Department of Labor ("DOL") recently issued updated regulations which clarify what types of compensation provided by employers can properly be excluded from the regular rate for overtime computation purposes.  The DOL's stated purpose in updating its regular rate regulations (which had not been significantly revised in more than 50 years) is to better reflect the 21st century workplace and to encourage employers to provide additional and innovative benefits to employees without fear that those forms of compensation might result in additional overtime obligations.  The updated regulations became effective on January 15, 2020.

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The USDOL Issues a Proposed Rule to Clarify and Amend the Fluctuating Workweek Method of Overtime Compensation

November 13, 2019

By Subhash Viswanathan

On November 5, the U.S. Department of Labor published a proposed rule in the Federal Register to provide some clarity for employers that seek to use the fluctuating workweek method of overtime compensation under the Fair Labor Standards Act.  The proposed amendment lists each of the five requirements for using the fluctuating workweek method separately, instead of including all of the requirements in paragraph form as the current regulation does.  The proposed amendment also includes additional language not currently contained in the regulation, explicitly stating that bonuses, premium payments, and other additional payments of any kind are not incompatible with the use of the fluctuating workweek method of computing overtime.

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