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U.S. Department of Labor Releases Four New Opinion Letters

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) announced that it has issued four new opinion letters. DOL opinion letters are designed to interpret and provide clarity to federal labor laws, and these four new letters target issues under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

Combatting the Shortage of Home Care Workers: Going Co-Op?

With the number of U.S. residents aged 65 and older projected to more than double from 46 million today to over 98 million by 2060, home care agencies face a litany of difficulties. Among these are that home care agency owners themselves are reaching retirement age. In addition, properly classifying home care workers—and even determining which test to use to classify them—is no easy feat. Moreover, the nature of home care work leads to high worker turnover, and since July 2017, a Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) rule has required home health agencies to meet more stringent conditions to participate in Medicare and Medicaid programs. In short, fewer and fewer workers are doing more and more for an ever-increasing caseload of patients.

New DOL Opinion Letter Extinguishes Private Fire Department’s Eligibility for Overtime Exemption

Private contractors that provide fire service protection beware: you may not be able to claim partial exemptions for overtime under section 7(k) of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

DOL Issues Opinion Letter Clarifying When Employees Paid on Hourly, Daily, or Shift Basis Can Satisfy "Salary Basis" Requirement

On November 8, 2018, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD) issued a new opinion letter addressing the circumstances under which an employee who is paid on an hourly, daily, or shift basis (subject to a weekly guarantee) may qualify as an exempt executive, administrative, or professional employee under section 13(a)(1) of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (FLSA). While not establishing a bright-line rule, the opinion letter confirms that: (a) a ratio of 1.5-to-1 between an employee’s usual weekly earnings and the weekly guarantee is acceptable; (b) a ratio that exceeds 1.5-to-1 is vulnerable to challenge; and (c) a ratio of 1.8-to-1 or more is probably not acceptable.

DOL Reissues 2009 Opinion Letter and Loosens Rules to Apply a Tip Credit to Employees Who Perform Side Work

On November 8, 2018, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) reissued and adopted a nearly decade-old opinion letter to clarify how employers must pay tipped employees who perform dual jobs.

DOL Reissues Opinion Letter Eliminating the 80/20 Rule

On November 8, 2018, the Department of Labor (DOL) gave hospitality employers good news when it retracted its "80/20 rule," which prevented employers from taking the tip credit when tipped employees spent more than 20 percent of their working time on non-tipped work.

USDOL Cleans Up Its "20% Rule" Mess

The United States Department of Labor (USDOL) issued four opinion letters today in which it construed issues arising under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”). The most significant of these letters, FLSA2018-27, is one that addresses the Section 3(m) tip credit which employers may take for certain types of employees under certain circumstances. FLSA2018-27 is an important development that appears to signal the impending demise of the much-maligned, and legally-suspect, “20% Rule” that has caused problems for many employers of tipped employees, particularly in the restaurant industry.

DOL Eliminates Employer-Plaguing “80/20” Tip Credit Rule

The Department of Labor (“DOL”) today rescinded its prior guidance that made the tip credit unavailable to tipped employees who spend more than 20% of their time performing allegedly non-tip generating duties.

1 More Hour of Sleep but 4 More Wage and Hour Problems as Daylight Saving Time Ends

On Sunday, November 4, 2018, at 2:00 a.m., daylight saving time will end. This World War I–era practice of turning back the clock one hour in the fall became a federal law in the United States when President Lyndon Johnson signed the Uniform Time Act in 1966. The jury is still out on whether “falling back” is beneficial. Claims that it helps to conserve energy are dubious. Most people probably don’t get an extra hour of sleep that night. And, the time change doesn’t actually increase the number of hours of sunlight per day. However, it does present a good opportunity for employers to examine their timekeeping practices with regard to nonexempt employees.

WPI Wage Watch: Minimum Wage & Overtime Developments (October Edition)

If you procrastinated on finding a costume for the office Halloween party, never fear—just put "hipster" or "zombie" before any person, profession, or thing, and you're set. After indulging in too much sugar and embarrassing group photos, relax and unwind with our always cool and very much alive update on minimum wage, tip, and overtime developments.