Enforcement of DOL home healthcare rule starts November 12

by Judith E. Kramer

November 12 marks the date the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) will begin enforcing regulations extending the minimum wage and overtime protections of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) to almost two million home healthcare workers who are employed by third parties and provide either companionship services or live-in care for the elderly, ill, or disabled.

The DOL issued the regulations on October 1, 2013, but a federal district court held them invalid. Then the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit disagreed, holding on August 21, 2015, that they are a reasonable interpretation of the FLSA.

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Cybersecurity bill gives employers plenty to consider

November 02, 2015 - by: Tammy Binford 0 COMMENTS

Safety concept: blue Padlock on digital backgroundThe U.S. House and Senate have both passed versions of a cybersecurity bill that would enable companies to voluntarily share information on cyberattacks. The likelihood that some form of the measure will soon become law means employers need to consider whether or how they should participate.

The Senate passed the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act on October 27. A similar bill passed the House earlier this year. Differences between the House and Senate versions will have to be reconciled before going to President Barack Obama for his expected signature.

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Proposed GINA rule clears up issue on wellness programs

November 02, 2015 - by: Tammy Binford 0 COMMENTS

A new proposed rule from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) settles the question of whether employers are justified in seeking medical information on covered spouses participating in wellness programs.

The proposed rule, published in the October 30 Federal Register, would amend regulations implementing Title II of the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA). The proposed rule’s summary states that it addresses how an employer may offer inducements for an employee’s covered spouse to provide information about current or past health status as part of a health risk assessment connected to the employer’s wellness program.

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Push for paid family leave gets boost from Washington, D.C., proposal

October 07, 2015 - by: Tammy Binford 0 COMMENTS

A bill under consideration in the Washington, D.C., City Council would give most workers in the city the most generous paid family leave allowance in the country. The bill, introduced October 5, comes amid a push by President Barack Obama and Labor Secretary Thomas Perez to encourage states and cities to adopt paid leave laws.

The bill would entitle most full- and part-time workers in the city to take up to 16 weeks of paid family leave to bond with an infant or an adopted child, recover from an illness, recuperate from a military deployment, or tend to an ill family member.

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Time for federal contractors to get ready for new pay transparency rule

September 10, 2015 - by: Tammy Binford 0 COMMENTS

Federal contractors need to be preparing now for the U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) new pay transparency rule, a rule going into effect in January that is likely to present challenges to a number of employers, according to an attorney familiar with its provisions.

“This rule appears to me to be part of the overarching intention of the agency to provide for more defined and broader rights for workers,” Jo Ellen Whitney, an attorney with the Davis Brown Law Firm in Des Moines, Iowa, said after publication of the rule was announced September 10. “Any time we add a section to the law that would broaden coverage or create a new category of discrimination or retaliation, we create employer issues. This is not because employers will violate the law, but because it is uncertain how it will be used to support any potential employee claim.”

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Federal contractors advised to get ready for new paid sick leave order

September 09, 2015 - by: Tammy Binford 0 COMMENTS

President Barack Obama’s latest Executive Order affecting federal contractors isn’t scheduled to take effect for more than a year, but employers with federal contracts are advised to take a look at their sick leave policies now to make sure they will be in compliance when the time comes.

On September 7, Obama signed an Executive Order that will require federal contractors and subcontractors to offer employees up to seven days of paid sick leave per year. A fact sheet from the White House says that beginning with new contracts in 2017, workers will earn a minimum of one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked. The White House points out that contractors are free to offer more generous paid leave entitlements.

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New NLRB standard exposes more employers to union, other pressures

August 27, 2015 - by: Tammy Binford 0 COMMENTS

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has adopted a new and broader standard of what constitutes joint employment by taking a stand that abandons a long-accepted standard in favor of one the Board claims better reflects “the current economic landscape.”

The new view of joint employment will bring major change not just to employers using staffing agencies but also to employers that operate on a franchise model or use various kinds of contingent workers, according to attorneys closely watching the Board’s actions.

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Appeals court revives new homecare worker rules on minimum wage, overtime

August 25, 2015 - by: Tammy Binford 0 COMMENTS

A new rule from the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) requiring minimum wage and overtime pay for many homecare workers is set to take effect after a ruling from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

The DOL instituted a rule in 2013 that removed the domestic service exemption for homecare workers hired by third-party agencies. Previously, workers providing companionship or live-in care for the elderly and disabled were exempt from the minimum wage and overtime requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) even if they were employed by a third party.

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NLRB dismisses petition to unionize Northwestern football players

August 17, 2015 - by: Tammy Binford 0 COMMENTS

Just how the dismissal of the petition to unionize some Northwestern University football players will affect other representation issues before the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) is uncertain, but one issue the Board didn’t touch is whether scholarship football players should be considered employees.

The NLRB announced on August 17 that it had unanimously decided to dismiss the 2014 unionization petition because “asserting jurisdiction would not promote labor stability” because of the nature and structure of the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s (NCAA) Division I Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS).

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Time running out to make comments on proposed overtime rule

August 03, 2015 - by: Tammy Binford 0 COMMENTS

Employers wishing to make their views known on a proposed rule aimed at making nearly five million more workers exempt from the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and therefore eligible for overtime pay have through September 4 to submit comments.

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) released a proposed rule on July 6 that would guarantee overtime pay to most salaried white-collar workers earning less than an estimated $970 a week ($50,440 a year) in 2016. Currently, the salary threshold for an employee to be exempt from the FLSA is $455 a week ($23,660 a year). The salary threshold was last revised in 2004.

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