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ten most recent federal employment law articles Ten Most Recent Federal Articles

Beginning in 2020, Employers May Reimburse Health Insurance Premiums as an Alternative to a Traditional Group Health Plan (Subject to Several Requirements)

Jackson Lewis P.C. • August 22, 2019
Many employers have contacted us over the years asking whether they may offer an “employer–payment plan” rather than offer a traditional group health insurance plan. An employer-payment plan is a type of account-based plan that provides an employee reimbursement for all or a portion of the premium expense for individual health insurance coverage or other non-employer hospital or medical insurance.

Fifth Circuit Confirms that a Day Rate Can Meet the Salary Requirements under the FLSA’s White Collar Overtime Exemptions

Littler Mendelson, P.C. • August 22, 2019
On August 21, 2019, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit issued an opinion in Faludi v. U.S. Shale Solutions, L.L.C. that may prove to be an important decision for companies that utilize day rate compensation.1 The decision settled two important issues, concluding that: (1) a guaranteed day rate that provides compensation exceeding $455 can meet the Fair Labor Standard Act (“FLSA”) salary requirements for the white collar overtime exemptions, and (2) the FLSA’s reasonable relationship test does not apply to the highly compensated exemption.

Airline Industry Alert: DOL Announces Meeting to Solicit Public Input on Aviation Act Whistleblower Protection Provision – AIR21

FordHarrison LLP • August 22, 2019
Executive Summary: On August 20, 2019, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) announced it will hold a meeting on October 8, 2019 in Washington, D.C., for the purpose of soliciting public comments from stakeholders on issues pertaining to whistleblower protections under the Wendell H. Ford Aviation Investment and Reform Act for the 21st Century (“AIR 21”). This meeting will be the fourth in a series of meetings held by OSHA with the goal of seeking public comments and suggestions on ways it can improve whistleblower customer service and further the public’s understanding of the whistleblower laws.

DOL’s WHD Regulatory Reforms in the Home Stretch

Ogletree Deakins • August 21, 2019
If you are a sports fan, then you might consider the regulatory agenda of the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) in general, and the Wage and Hour Division (WHD) in particular, as winding down to the end of the third quarter of a football game or moving into the latter innings of a baseball game. In both sports, time and opportunity become critical for the team that wants to win but is not ahead. Regardless of your preferred game, as the November 3, 2020, elections draw closer (less than 440 days away), the WHD has been very busy in the regulatory realm under Wage and Hour Administrator Cheryl Stanton and Acting Secretary of Labor Patrick Pizzella.

What’s New with the EEOC?

Littler Mendelson, P.C. • August 21, 2019
In this podcast, Littler’s Michael Lotito and Jim Paretti discuss the EEOC, how the lack of a quorum affected the agency, and what we might expect now that the agency’s quorum has been restored.

How to Manage an ICE Site Visit

Littler Mendelson, P.C. • August 21, 2019
On August 7, 2019, more than 600 agents from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raided several companies across Mississippi. With the help of the local district attorney’s office, these raids resulted in the arrests of approximately 680 undocumented workers.1 Federal prosecutors involved described the investigation as “the largest single-state immigration enforcement operation in our nation’s history.”2 In response to this raid, Acting Director of ICE Matt Albence stated, “These are not new laws, nor is the enforcement of them new.”3 Mike Hurst, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Mississippi, added, “If we find you have violated federal criminal law, we are coming for you.”

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Agency Proposes Changes to Hours of Service Rules for Truck Drivers

Jackson Lewis P.C. • August 21, 2019
The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has published a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) on changes to the hours of service (HOS) rules.

IRS Releases Second Drafts of Redesigned 2020 Form W-4 and Withholding Instructions

XpertHR • August 21, 2019
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has released second drafts of the completely redesigned and renamed 2020 Form W-4 and new Publication 15-T, Federal Income Tax Withholding Methods for use in 2020. The changes are being made to comply with the 2017 federal tax reform law, which suspended personal exemptions through 2025. Although the final form and publication will not be released until the fall, the IRS has instructed employers to begin reprogramming their payroll software based on the second drafts.

Labor Board Corrects ‘Unjustified Asymmetry’ in Anticipatory Withdrawal of Union Recognition Doctrine

Jackson Lewis P.C. • August 21, 2019
Since 2001, an employer presented with evidence that at least 50 percent of its unionized bargaining unit no longer wanted to be represented by the union could anticipatorily withdraw recognition from that union. The union, however, could rebut that evidence by showing that, subsequent to the employer’s pronouncement and prior to the actual withdrawal, it regained majority status. Levitz Furniture, 333 NLRB 717 (2001). Now, in Johnson Controls, Inc., 368 NLRB No. 20 (July 3, 2019), the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has overturned Levitz’s “last in time” rule, under which the union’s evidence controlled the outcome because it postdated the employer’s evidence. Instead, the NLRB created a procedure by which employees’ wishes will be determined by a secret-ballot election.

DOL Opines That Parent’s Attendance at IEP Conference Warrants FMLA Leave

Jackson Lewis P.C. • August 20, 2019
In an August 8, 2019 opinion letter, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD) shed some light on what counts as “caring for” a family member under the FMLA. In Opinion Letter FMLA2019-2-A, the WHD found that a parent was entitled to take intermittent FMLA leave to attend a meeting at her child’s school to discuss the child’s Individualized Education Program (“IEP”). Such meetings were held four times per year and were attended by a number of professionals, including a speech pathologist, school psychologist, other therapists, teachers and school administrators. The parent had been told by her employer that attendance at these meetings was not covered by the FMLA.