No immediate effects expected because of Solis resignation

January 10, 2013 0 COMMENTS

U.S. Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis announced on January 9 she will step down, but no signs of immediate change to U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) policy or pending audits are apparent.

President Barack Obama praised Solis’ term as DOL leader but named no possible successor. “Over her long career in public service—as an advocate for environmental justice in California, state legislator, member of Congress and secretary of Labor—Hilda Solis has been a tireless champion for working families,” Obama said.

Solis sent a letter to employees at the DOL in which she said: “After much discussion with family and close friends, I have decided to begin a new future and return to the people and places I love and that have inspired and shaped my life.”

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DOL Says Employees May Take FMLA Leave When Domestic Partner Gives Birth or Adopts

June 22, 2010 0 COMMENTS

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) is expected to issue guidance on Wednesday that will grant expanded Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) rights to gay and lesbian employees. The development, however, may not be as dramatic as it sounds.

Initial overnight reports made it appear that the Obama administration was expanding the FMLA to allow employees to take leave to care for a same-sex partner. However, it appears that isn’t the case. Several new outlets are now reporting that the expansion will apply only to the limited situation when an employee requests leave in relation to the birth or adoption of a same-sex partner’s child.

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Employees Must Be Paid for Donning, Doffing Required Protective Gear

June 17, 2010 0 COMMENTS

Continuing the recently established practice of issuing broadly applicable “Administrator Interpretations” in lieu of wage and hour opinion letters, U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) Deputy Administrator Nancy Leppink has released the second Administrator Interpretation of 2010. The interpretation, issued June 16, clarifies the definition of “clothes” under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), addressing some inconsistency among prior opinion letters and case law on the topic of donning and doffing protective equipment.

Specifically, the FLSA provides that time spent “changing clothes” at the beginning of the workday isn’t considered compensable time; however, there had been a difference of opinion as to whether “clothes” also included mandatory protective equipment required in some industries — for example, meatpacking and processing. In Administrator’s Interpretation No. 2010-2, Deputy Administrator Leppink examined the FLSA’s statutory language and legislative history to determine that “clothes” refers to apparel, not to mandatory protective equipment such as face shields, sanitary and safety equipment, protective gloves, and arm and belly guards. That means employees who are required by safety laws to don and doff protective gear must be compensated for the time it takes to do so.

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Government Issues Health Care Reform Regulations on ‘Grandfathered’ Plans

June 16, 2010 0 COMMENTS

On June 14, the U.S. Departments of Health and Human Services (HHS), Labor, and Treasury issued new regulations addressing grandfathered plans under health care reform and how such plans can keep their grandfathered status. Although the new health care reform legislation (the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and the Health Care and Education Affordability Reconciliation Act of 2010) requires health plans to provide new benefits, the legislation “grandfathers” plans that existed on March 23, 2010, by exempting them from certain new requirements.

According to a fact sheet released by the departments, the regulations clarify that grandfathered plans will be able to make certain routine changes to their plans without losing their grandfathered status. Such changes include: read more…

Federal Agencies Host Web Chats to Discuss Spring Regulatory Agendas

April 26, 2010 0 COMMENTS

Throughout this week, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) will host a series of live Web chats to discuss the regulatory agendas of the various federal agencies. The chats, which will run through Wednesday, will include details of the proposed regulatory activities of the Wage and Hour Division (WHD), the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP), and other agencies.

Office of Labor-Management Standards (OLMS)
The chats kicked off this morning with a brief session hosted by the Office of Labor-Management Standards (OLMS), which is the department that enforces the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act (LMRDA). The LMRDA establishes reporting and record-keeping requirements for employers and labor relations consultants, with the intention of ensuring that workers may make informed decisions with regard to their rights to organize and bargain collectively.

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Wage War: DOL Launches Aggressive “We Can Help” Enforcement Outreach

April 07, 2010 0 COMMENTS

The U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) Wage and Hour Division (WHD) has fired a loud warning shot to employers in its ongoing effort to increase federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) enforcement. In a news release late last year, U.S. Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis first unveiled plans for a proposed program to work with advocacy groups and other stakeholders to inform workers of their labor rights. However, We Can Help, which was officially launched last week, represents a very active effort on the WHD’s part to reach out to employees for their help in cracking down on suspected wage violations.

The We Can Help website presents employees who think they aren’t “being paid right” with a nothing-to-lose wage complaint scenario, encouraging them to take advantage of a toll-free information hot line, complainant confidentiality, and protection for undocumented immigrant workers. Employers defending against the complaints, however, aren’t afforded similar luxuries and may face significant loss of time, money, and resources on the program’s effort to solicit (potentially frivolous) claims.

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DOL’s Agenda Focuses on Safety and Wages

January 28, 2010 2 COMMENTS

Labor Secretary Hilda L. Solis has announced the U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) regulatory agenda for 2010, saying, “Protecting wages and working conditions for workers is key to the mission of our department, and ensuring that workers have a voice on the job is also vital.” The agenda is expected to satisfy many union demands. Below is a summary of the DOL’s priorities by department.

Wage and Hour Division
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