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FMLA “Marriage Penalty” May be Going Away

Friday, November 15, 2019

A new Senate bill proposes removing the restriction on married co-workers’ ability to take time off to care for newborn or adopted children, parents, or military family members under the FMLA.  The FMLA provides job protected, unpaid leave for employees for certain purposes, such as the birth or adoption of a child, or to care for a sick family member.   Employees may take up to 12 weeks of leave during a one-year period.  Currently however, there is statutory language that only allows spouses to take a total of 12 combined weeks of leave.

Federal DOL Issues Proposed Rule Allowing Inclusion of Bonus Pay in Overtime Calculation for Fluctuating Workweek Half-Time Overtime Employees

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

The fluctuating workweek half-time overtime option has been available for many years under federal law as a way for employers to reduce their overtime costs for employees who work different hours each week. The option requires that the employee be paid a fixed minimum amount weekly regardless of the number of hours worked. Then, if that number of worked exceeds 40, the employer may pay overtime on a half-time of the regular rate of pay basis (determined each week overtime is worked).

NY’s New Law Affecting Domestic Violence Victims Takes Effect in November

Friday, October 25, 2019

NY passed a new law this year that applies to employees that are victims of domestic violence.  This law requires employers to provide victims reasonable time off from work to seek medical attention for himself or herself for the injuries caused by domestic violence, to receive services from a domestic violence shelter or program or a rape crisis center, to obtain psychological counseling, to participate in safety planning or other activities to increase the victim’s safety in the future, to receive legal services, assist in the prosecution of the perpetrator, or to appear in court in rela

U.S. Supreme Court Argument on 10/8/19 Regarding LGBTQ Discrimination Coverage Under Title VII

Wednesday, October 09, 2019

Observers noted a sharp divide among the United States Supreme Court Justices during oral argument of three cases before them on October 8, 2019. At issue before the Court was whether the prohibition against discrimination on the basis of “sex” in federal Title VII includes protection from discrimination for the LGBTQ community.

New Salary Levels for Federal Overtime Exemption Announced

Monday, September 30, 2019

The federal government has announced the new salary requirements for employees to be exempt from overtime pay under federal law.  The new salary threshold is $35,568 annually or $684 weekly.

Are Changes to Gig Worker Classifications Coming?

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Historically, gig workers (think Uber drivers, InstaCart, Doordash) have been classified as independent contractors, allowing companies to avoid having to pay benefits or minimum wage and overtime.  This may change sooner than you think.  Just last week, California got one step closer to making it harder for companies to classify these individuals as independent contractors.  While the bill still must be signed into law, experts believe that this is inevitable.  New York Gov.

Federal DOL Set to Publish a Proposed Rule Regarding Fluctuating Workweek Pay

Friday, September 06, 2019

Under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act, employers who agree with employees who work a fluctuating number of hours each week to pay them a base salary regardless of the number of hours worked, are then able to pay those employees half-time for their overtime hours.  This somewhat unknown, and not often used, structure generally saves employers money and gives employees the certainty of the salary during weeks working less than 40 hours.

PFL 2020 Rates Announced

Friday, September 06, 2019

The New York State Department of Financial Services (“DFS”) Superintendent revealed the new Paid Family Leave (“PFL”) benefit and employee contribution rates on Friday August 30. By law, those on PFL will receive up to 60% of the New York State average weekly wage (which the DFS set at $1,401.17 for 2020), for the up-to-10 weeks of PFL taken during the year. Accordingly, most employees who take PFL in 2020 will receive $840.70 per week, up about $100 from 2019, and it will be interesting to see if more employees seek to take it.

Expanded NY Anti-Harassment Legislation Has Become Law

Friday, August 30, 2019

On June 25, we wrote about new anti-harassment legislation that we expected Governor Cuomo to sign into law.  On August 12, he did, in fact, sign that legislation and expanded the definition of what is considered legally actionable harassment in the workplace.  The traditional standard that harassment must be “severe and pervasive” will no longer apply.  Now, a complainant must show that the conduct in question rises above the level of “petty slights and trivial inconveniences.” 

 

Additional changes are:

NY Passes New Discrimination Laws

Friday, August 23, 2019

Continuing with its’ busy employment legislation season, New York has amended the Human Rights Law to prohibit discrimination based on religious attire, clothing and facial hair.  The law becomes effective on October 8, 2019.   The law already prohibited employers from treating applicants or employees differently because of their religion, but the amendment makes clear that the definition of religion includes bias against any employee’s religious clothing, facial hair or attire.

Governmental Affairs
13
Once again the COBRA subsidy and unemployment benefit rules have been extended. If you have any questions please contact GVCSHRM Legislative Representative Paul F. Keneally, Esq., Chair Labor & Employment Practice Group, Underberg & Kessler LLP at 258-2882 or keneally@underbergkessler.com

Employers Must Account for Extension of COBRA Subsidy and Unemployment Benefit Rules

3/5/2010 By Edward I. Leeds and Farrah I. Gold
As widely reported in the press, on March 2, 2010, President Barack Obama signed into law the Temporary Extension Act of 2010, which provides short extensions for a number of government programs, including the COBRA subsidy rules and unemployment compensation benefits. Employers will need to consider how these extensions affect the administration of their benefits for terminated employees.

COBRA Subsidy Rules. The date for incurring an involuntary termination of employment that qualifies for the subsidy has been extended by one month, from Feb. 28, 2010, to March 31, 2010. Further extensions are almost certain to be considered in future legislation.

The act makes a few other significant changes. In particular, an individual who does not elect (or elects and then discontinues) COBRA continuation coverage following a reduction in hours will be given a second opportunity to elect continuation coverage and qualify for the subsidy if his or her employment is involuntarily terminated at a later date. The maximum continuation coverage period will be deemed to start as of the date hours were reduced, even though the actual continuation coverage will typically begin when employment terminates. Special notice and election provisions will apply. This change applies only to involuntary terminations of employment that occur on or after the date of enactment.

On a favorable note, the act provides that deference will be given to an employer’s reasonable determination that an involuntary termination has occurred. Employers should retain appropriate documentation supporting the determination, including an attestation by the employer of the involuntary termination of employment.

The act also builds on relevant enforcement provisions, authorizing the government to impose a civil penalty of up to $110 per day if an employer takes more than 10 days to implement a government appeal determination that an individual is eligible for the subsidy.

We expect further regulatory guidance on these new rules to be issued. For more information on the COBRA subsidy rules, click here.

Unemployment Compensation. The act’s unemployment insurance provisions extend various benefit periods. Specifically, the period during which individuals may apply for federal emergency unemployment compensation has been extended from Feb. 28, 2010, to April 5, 2010. Federal emergency unemployment compensation is now payable through Sept. 4, 2010, rather than July 31, 2010.

The act also extends the period during which individuals may qualify for the federal additional compensation, i.e., the amount to which the employee would be entitled under state unemployment compensation law plus an additional $25, from Feb. 28, 2010, to April 5, 2010. Additional compensation shall now be payable through the week ending Oct. 5, 2010, rather than Aug. 31, 2010.

The act extends the period during which extended benefits are 100 percent federally funded to April 5, 2010. States may opt to continue the period of extended benefits to Sept. 4, 2010, rather than July 31, 2010.

Edward I. Leeds is of counsel and Farrah I. Gold is an associate at the law firm Ballard Spahr LLP. © 2010 Ballard Spahr Andrews & Ingersoll, LLP. All Rights Reserved.

Editor’s Note: This article should not be construed as legal advice.

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