The District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia have enacted or are considering a host of changes that employers need to keep track of in 2022, including increases to the minimum wage and amendments to anti-discrimination laws. Maryland revised its Fair Employment Practices Act to extend the time period for filing a charge of discrimination alleging an unlawful employment practice other than harassment, introduced new requirements for employers to comply with when conducting mass layoffs, amended its leave laws to account for paid bereavement leave, and passed a law permitting employers to file for peace orders on behalf of an employee facing threats or acts of violence in the workplace. The District of Columbia passed a law banning non-compete agreements for almost all employees. Virginia amended its Overtime Wage Act, which now provides overtime protections for employees under state law and establishes a three-year statute of limitations. Virginia also added “disability” to the list of characteristics protected from discrimination under the Virginia Human Rights Act (VHRA), which came shortly after the VHRA was expanded last year to cover most Virginia employers.
Just two years after the enactment of Universal Paid Family Leave Act, it appears that thousands of private-sector employees in Washington, D.C. will receive a substantial increase in the annual amount of paid leave to which they are entitled. At the same time, D.C. employers will receive a significant tax cut to the amount they are required to pay to fund this program.
The Universal Paid Family Leave Act, which took effect in July 2020, allows eligible D.C. employees to take up to (i) eight weeks for parental leave; (ii) six weeks for family medical leave; and (iii) six weeks for personal medical leave. This program, which is funded through employer-paid taxes, has cost less than previously forecast and now has excess funds.
As a result, in a letter sent last week to Mayor Muriel Bowser and D.C. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson, D.C.’s Acting Chief Financial Officer Fitzroy Lee stated that by as early as July 1, 2022, employees will now receive (i) twelve weeks for parental leave; (ii) twelve weeks for family medical leave; and (iii) twelve weeks for personal medical leave. In other words, eligible employees will now be able to take double the amount of paid leave for family medical leave and personal medical leave, and 66% more parental leave, than they currently receive. Eligible employees also will now be entitled to a new benefit of two weeks of paid prenatal leave, which was not previously available.
Employees will not be the sole beneficiary to the changes to the Universal Paid Family Leave Act. Because of the excess funds currently available, the private employers who pay for this leave program will Continue reading →
2022 brings changes for California employers to a range of topics touching on traditional employment law matters as well as health and safety concerns, including related to COVID-19. This webinar will review compliance obligations for companies doing business in California, as well as discuss the practical impact of these new laws and best practices for avoiding potential employment-related claims.
We thought it would be a good break from all the COVID-19-related coverage to delve into a retaliation case under the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) through the lens of an interesting recent complaint filed by the Department of Labor (“DOL”) involving…a huge pile of pennies. A review of the case addresses both the types of actions that would be considered retaliatory under the law, as well as the significance of proximity when analyzing the viability of a case of retaliation. The facts as alleged by the DOL also act as a warning against the role internet postings can play in supporting a legal action.
Facts as Asserted in the Complaint
Though somewhat extraordinary, the facts in the case seem fairly straightforward. Per the DOL’s Complaint, Continue reading →
2021 brings significant changes for California employers, from legislation and Cal/OSHA rulemaking associated with COVID-19 prevention to wage and hour developments. This webinar will review compliance obligations for companies doing business in California, as well as discuss the practical impact of these new laws and best practices for avoiding potential employment-related claims.
2020 has been another banner year for California employment laws, with legislation and Cal/OSHA rulemaking associated with COVID-19 prevention and reporting taking center stage. In our annual update of new employment laws impacting California private sector employers, we lead off with California’s COVID-19 related laws, given their far-reaching impact on the state’s workforce during the pandemic as employers continue to implement measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the workplace. We have also addressed other substantive legislative developments, particularly in the areas of wage and hour law and reporting of employee pay data. Unless otherwise indicated, these new laws will take effect on January 1, 2021.
On November 19, 2020, the California’s Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board (Standards Board) voted unanimously to adopt an Emergency COVID-19 Prevention Rule following a contentious public hearing with over 500 participants in attendance (albeit virtually). The Emergency Rule was then presented to California’s Office of Administrative Lawfor approval and publication. The Rule brings with it a combination of requirements overlapping with and duplicative of already-existing state and county requirements applicable to employers, as well as a number of new and, in some cases, very burdensome compliance obligations.
The Standards Board’s emergency rulemaking was triggered last May with the submission of a Petition for an emergency rulemaking filed by worker advocacy group WorkSafe and National Lawyers’ Guild, Labor & Employment Committee. The Petition requested the Board amend Title 8 standards to create two new regulations Continue reading →
While many companies are dealing with the more noticeable effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, wage and hour issues continue to be a concern as they could result in significant financial liability. As a result, it is important to be aware of these new pandemic-related wage and hour issues, including:
Tricky “off the clock” and other wage payment issues for teleworking employees;
Whether teleworking employees need to be paid for “commuting” time;
Whether on-site employees should be paid for health screening time and other safety protocols; and
Exempt/non-exempt issues resulting from employees performing multiple tasks on emergency bases.
At the same time, there are other important wage and hour issues that have changed significantly in 2020, including the new overtime rule, new classification guidance for independent contractors, and new joint employer guidance under the FLSA.
Many states are beginning to re-open their economies, and employers are resuming or increasing business operations in some fashion. As employers make this transition, there are several key employment considerations that employers should pay close attention to. Below is an overview of some of the topics employers should carefully analyze when reopening or increasing business operations.
Exempt and Non-Exempt Employee Classification Issues
As employers begin to ramp up business or begin plans to do so, employers should carefully evaluate whether exempt employees performing a majority of work on non-exempt tasks still meet the administrative exemption Continue reading →
On September 10, 2019, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) issued a new Opinion Letter providing clarity on the Fair Labor Standards Act’s (FLSA)’s Section 7(i) retail or service establishment overtime pay exemption that commissions on goods or services represent more than half an employee’s compensation for a representative period of not less than one month.
Although summer seems far away, now is the time when most employers begin to prepare for their summer internship programs. Internships are a great way to give college students or new professionals some hands-on experience in your industry. However, one major question that has plagued employers over the past decade is whether an intern must be paid under the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) based on the duties he or she performs in the intern role and the structure of internship program.
While some employers offer paid internships, other internships are unpaid or only provide a stipend lower than the minimum wage. Given the recent string of high-profile class action cases brought by unpaid interns, for-profit, private sector employers must be aware of the FLSA’s requirements as it relates to unpaid interns. Specifically, employers need to carefully evaluate whether an intern qualifies as an “unpaid intern” or an “employee” entitled to compensation. Continue reading →