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Federal DOL Proposes Changes/Clarifications to the Definition of "Regular Rate" under the FLSA

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

The determination of the regular rate of pay for employees who are non-exempt under the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) and, therefore, eligible for time-and-one-half overtime pay for all hours worked over forty (40) in a week is a crucial and sometimes complicated one for employers under current law.

Employee Paid Time Off to Vote Law Changes in New York

Monday, May 06, 2019

As part of the New York fiscal year 2020 budget announced April 1, 2019, Election Law Section 3-110 was immediately amended to allow workers to take up to three hours off of work, without loss of pay, in order to vote in any election.  In a significant change from the prior law, the employee need not establish insufficient time to vote during off hours in order to take advantage of voting leave (previously, most employees were not able to show insufficient off hour time). However, nothing in the law entitles employees to more time than needed to vote.

Supreme Court to Review LGBTQ Discrimination

Monday, April 29, 2019

Last week the Supreme Court accepted three cases that ask whether federal anti-discrimination laws protect LGBT people from job discrimination.  There is disagreement in lower Federal Courts regarding whether sexual orientation and gender identity are included in Title VII’s prohibition of discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex and national origin. 

EEOC Discrimination Charges Fall

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

In 2018, fewer discrimination charges were filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission than in any other year in the last decade. In fact, 8,000 fewer charges were filed last year than in 2017. This may seem surprising, given the #MeToo movement, but there are a myriad of reasons why the numbers may be falling.

New York Draws Closer to Legalizing Marijuana: How Employers Should Prepare

Thursday, April 04, 2019

The trend to legalize marijuana continues.  Governor Andrew Cuomo recently announced his intention for New York to be one of the next states to legalize marijuana.  While his initial timeline has met some resistance and will not coincide with the State’s annual budget, which was due April 1, it appears New York could legalize recreational marijuana in the very near future.  Governor Cuomo’s proposed legislation – Cannabis Regulation and Taxation Act - would create an office of Cannabis Management to oversee cultivation, processing, distribution, sale and adult use of marijuana for recreational purposes. 

United States Department of Labor Issues New Opinion Letters - Part 3

Monday, March 25, 2019

The third opinion letter issued by the US Department of Labor on March 14 addressed a New York law that contradicted federal overtime laws. The opinion addresses employees who work for a New York real estate company as live-in janitors (“supers”) to maintain their rental buildings.  New York law exempts these workers from minimum wage and overtime law, while the Fair Labor Standards Act does not. The DOL said these workers are not exempt from federal minimum wage and overtime requirements because the federal law does not contain those exemptions. 

United States Department of Labor Issues New Opinion Letters - Part 2

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Another notable opinion from the U.S. Department of Labor letters issued on March 14 is that workers are not required to be paid for community service they perform through an employer program unless they are forced into volunteering. An employer submitted a question to the DOL asking if it had to compensate employees who are allowed to pick their own or employer sponsored volunteer activities.  The employer pays them for activities that occur during the work day or on the employer’s premises, but much of the volunteer time falls outside of working hours. 

United States Department of Labor Issues New Opinion Letters - Part 1

Friday, March 15, 2019

Yesterday, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) issued three opinion letters. This is the first of a series of blog posts addressing the letters.

Notably, the DOL clarified that employers cannot allow employees to take paid leave in lieu of FMLA leave.  As you know, the FMLA allows workers to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid time off to care for family members or receive treatment for their own illnesses.

That Free Lunch May be Taxable

Wednesday, March 06, 2019

The IRS recently released Technical Advice Memorandum 201903017 (the TAM) providing guidance to IRS personnel as to whether the value of meals and snacks provided without charge by an employer to its employees constitutes taxable wages. 

The employer in the TAM provided free meals to all employees, contractors and guests.  No distinction was made as to the employee’s position, job duties, responsibilities or other circumstances.  Unlimited drinks and snacks were also provided to all employees, contractors and visitors in unrestricted snack areas. 

BREAKING NEWS: NYS DOL Not Implementing Call-In Pay Regulations

Thursday, February 28, 2019

Good news!  Last night, the New York State Department of Labor issued a statement that it would not pursue implementing the proposed call-in pay regulations we wrote about previously (click here for that blog post). This issue is likely headed to the New York State Legislature.

Governmental Affairs
26

Please e-mail your U.S. Senators and urge them to support the Employment Verification Amendment!

The Senate is currently considering its immigration reform proposal, the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act (S. 744). SHRM and our strategic affiliate, the American Council on International Personnel (ACIP), are actively engaged on behalf of the HR profession in advocating for changes to the bill.  Senators Rob Portman (R-Ohio) and Jon Tester (D-Mont.) have introduced an amendment (SA 1634), supported by SHRM and ACIP that would strengthen the employment verification system, along with streamlining its efficiency, while importantly reducing the risk of identity theft.  Read Senator Portman’s press release regarding SA 1634 HERE. SHRM and ACIP have worked with Sens. Portman and Tester to develop the proposed amendment language.

Specifically, the Portman -Tester amendment would make the following changes to the current employment verification process:

  • Creates a fully electronic verification system that integrates the paper-based Form I-9 into the E-Verify system and moves toward a more secure system that authenticates identity and verifies employment eligibility providing better certainty that the person being hired is authorized to work in the U.S.
  • Provides employers with a voluntary option, to use a Knowledge - Based Authentication system if they use it for 100 percent of their new hires to assure the highest level of certainty, significantly improving the prevention of identity theft in the employment verification process.
  • Strengthens the safe harbor for employers using E-verify for employment decisions made on the basis of information generated from the system.

SHRM and ACIP support the Portman -Tester amendment and we believe this new approach to identity authentication is critical to the creation of a 21st century verification system that eliminates paper-based recordkeeping and moves toward a fully electronic, secure system to better authenticate identity and verify employment eligibility.

As the Senate considers comprehensive immigration reform this is an opportunity for employers and HR professionals to have their voice heard in helping to shape effective workplace policy.

The Senate is considering amendments to S. 744 TODAY AND TOMORROW (June 26 and 27).  It is critically important that both employers and HR professionals express support for the Portman -Tester amendment. 

Contact Your Senators in Support of the Portman-Tester Amendment TODAY:
Write your Senators using SHRM’s HRVoice program, follow these steps:

1.    Log onto the SHRM Advocacy Action Center by clicking HERE

2.    Personalize your message with your own story

3.    Include your home mailing address.

Should you have any questions regarding S. 744 and the Portman -Tester amendment, you may contact Mike Aitken, vice president, Government Affairs at SHRM at Mike.Aitken@shrm.org  or Rebecca Peters, Director and Counsel for Legislative Affairs at ACIP at Rebecca_peters@acip.com.

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