Law and the Workplace

Tag Archives: department of labor

Trump-Era Independent Contractor Rule Never to See Light of Day

Remember the Trump administration’s new rule for classifying workers as independent contractors?  The one issued on January 6, 2021, only weeks before President Biden took office?  The one that would have revised the U.S. Department of Labor’s test for determining worker status under the Fair Labor Standards Act to focus on two “core factors” (control … Continue Reading

OSHA Issues Guidance on Employer Recording Obligations Regarding Mandatory Vaccination Programs

***UPDATE: On May 21, 2021, OSHA published a new FAQ establishing that employers do not need to record adverse reactions from COVID-19 vaccines on their OSHA 300 Logs, at least through May of 2022.  The enforcement position applies regardless of whether an employer requires, recommends, or incentivizes employees to receive the vaccine. On April 20, … Continue Reading

DOL and Liquidated Damages: The Breakup Only Lasted 9 Months

On April 9, 2021, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) rescinded the Trump-era enforcement practice of abstaining from seeking liquidated damages in connection with pre-litigation investigations and settlements of wage and hour claims.  In Field Assistance Bulletin No. 2021-2, issued by the Wage and Hour Division’s Principal Deputy Administrator, Jessica Looman, the agency announced that … Continue Reading

Business Groups Challenge Biden Administration’s Delay of Trump-era Independent Contractor Rule

In a complaint filed on March 26, 2021, business groups challenged a U.S. Department of Labor March 4, 2021 final rule to delay the effective date of the Trump-era regulation on independent contractor classification.  As we previously reported, that Trump-era rule, which was finalized two weeks before President Biden took office, was initially scheduled to … Continue Reading

Biden Administration Wage and Hour Update:  50 Days In…

We’re 50 days into the Biden administration.  Here’s an update on where things stand with respect to wage and hour law at the federal level: On March 11, 2021, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD)—as expected—announced its proposals to rescind the Trump-era rules on independent contractor classification and joint employment. WHD’s … Continue Reading

DOL Takes First Step to Revisit Independent Contractor and Tip Rules

In accordance with the Biden administration’s January 20 regulatory freeze memorandum, the U.S Department of Labor issued proposals to delay the effective dates of the Final Rules on independent contractor classification and tip regulations by 60 days, to allow the agency “the opportunity to review and consider the questions of law, policy, and fact raised … Continue Reading

DOL Ends PAID Program

On January 29, the U.S. Department of Labor announced that it was discontinuing the Payroll Audit Independent Determination (“PAID”) program, effective immediately.  Under the program, which began in 2018, employers could self-report wage and hour violations to the DOL with the promise that the agency would supervise a settlement of the violations without seeking liquidated … Continue Reading

Biden Continues to Address Administration’s Top Labor Positions, Plans to Nominate Julie Su as Deputy Labor Secretary

***UPDATE: According to a Bloomberg Law Report, the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee will hold a confirmation hearing for Julie Su on March 16, 2021. We will continue to monitor updates to Su’s nomination as the Deputy Labor Secretary.*** According to a Bloomberg Law report, President Biden plans to nominate Julie Su as … Continue Reading

DOL Begins Withdrawal of Trump-Era Opinion Letters

As expected, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD) announced the withdrawal of three opinion letters issued in the waning days of the Trump administration.  The opinion letters being withdrawn are: FLSA2021-4, which addressed whether a restaurant may institute a tip pool under the Fair Labor Standards Act that includes both servers, … Continue Reading

Biden DOL Tosses Trump-Era “PRO Good Guidance Rule”

As expected, one of the first orders of business from the U.S. Department of Labor under the Biden administration was to scrap the 2020 “PRO Good Guidance Rule,” which imposed heightened burdens on the agency in connection with issuing guidance. The rule, issued last August in response to Trump’s Executive Order 13891—which directed federal agencies … Continue Reading

White House “Regulatory Freeze” Memo Dooms DOL Independent Contractor Rule

As expected, the White House issued a memorandum to the heads of all executive departments and agencies within the first few hours after President Biden’s inauguration on January 20, requesting that they halt all non-emergency rulemaking and regulatory activity pending review by the new administration. The memo asks the executive agencies, which include the U.S. … Continue Reading

DOL Issues Opinion Letters on Administrative Exemption and Ministerial Exception

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD) issued two new opinion letters on January 8, 2021, bringing the number of “lame duck” wage and hour opinion letters—issued since Election Day 2020—to six. In FLSA2021-1, WHD determined that account managers at a life sciences manufacturer qualify for the FLSA’s administrative exemption.  The account … Continue Reading

Trump DOL Issues Two More “Lame Duck” Opinion Letters, on Home-to-Office Travel Time and Live-In Caregivers

On December 31, 2020, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD) issued two opinion letters—one on home-to-office travel time and one on live-in caregivers.  Such “lame duck” opinion letters—issued post-Election Day when there is a change in both administration and political party—were at one point in recent memory quite uncommon.  The Carter … Continue Reading

DOL’s New Opinion Letters Examine Rules on Voluntary Training Time, Travel Time

On November 3, 2020, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (“WHD”) issued new opinion letters addressing the compensability of time spent by employees attending voluntary training programs and in work-related travel. The rules at issue only apply to non-exempt (e.g., overtime-eligible) employees.  If the time is considered “hours worked” under the FLSA, … Continue Reading

DOL Updates FFCRA Regulations in Light of Recent SDNY Decision

On September 11, 2020 the U.S. Department of Labor (“DOL”) issued revised Families First Coronavirus Response Act (“FFCRA”) regulations in response to a federal court decision striking down certain portions of its previous regulations. The FFCRA is a federal law that requires certain employers to provide: (1) two weeks of paid sick leave to employees … Continue Reading

DOL Reiterates That Hours Need Not Fluctuate Above and Below 40 in Fluctuating Workweek Method of Pay

SchedulingIn an opinion letter issued on August 31, 2020, the U.S. Department of Labor restated its position that an employee’s hours need not fluctuate above and below 40 hours to qualify for the fluctuating workweek (“FWW”) method of calculating overtime pay in 29 C.F.R. § 778.114. Under the FWW method of pay, an overtime-eligible employee … Continue Reading

Intersection Between Return-to-School and FFCRA

As we have previously reported, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), which remains in effect through December 31, 2020, provides, among other things, that eligible employees can take up to 12 weeks of FMLA leave if the employee is unable to work (or telework) due to a need for leave to care for their … Continue Reading

DOL Guidance Reminds Employers of Obligations to Track and Pay For Remote Work

On August 24, 2020, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (“WHD”) issued a Field Assistance Bulletin (“FAB”) providing guidance on employers’ obligations under the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) to track and pay for the hours of compensable work performed by employees who are working remotely.  While timely in light of the … Continue Reading

U.S. Department of Labor Releases New FMLA Forms and Requests Public Input on Existing Regulations

The U.S. Department of Labor (“DOL”) has released new and significantly revised versions of its model notice of rights, certification, and designation forms under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”). According to a press release by the DOL, the new forms, which are now currently in effect and can be found on the … Continue Reading

DOL To Refrain From Seeking Liquidated Damages in Most Pre-Litigation Settlements

SchedulingEffective July 1, 2020, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) will pull back on seeking liquidated damages in pre-litigation settlements of wage claims and investigations.  The change in policy, announced in Field Assistance Bulletin 2020-2, is significant, as liquidated damages can equal 100% of the back pay deemed to be owing, potentially resulting in “double … Continue Reading

U.S. DOL Answers Questions From States About PUA Unemployment Program

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) recently issued an update to its Unemployment Insurance Program Letter (UIPL) 16-20 to provide additional guidance on the CARES Act’s Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program in response to questions submitted by states. As a quick refresher, PUA expands unemployment benefit coverage to certain workers who traditionally are not eligible … Continue Reading

U.S. DOL Issues Additional Guidance on CARES Act Unemployment Programs

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) recently published two additional Unemployment Insurance Program Letters (UIPLs) providing guidance on the administration of the expanded unemployment insurance benefits under the CARES Act. The following summarizes the key points of these UIPLs. UIPL No. 15-20 addresses the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) provision of the CARES Act, under … Continue Reading
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