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Fringe Benefits Affected by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act

Ogletree Deakins • March 21, 2018
The enactment of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) on December 22, 2017, brought about the most sweeping overhaul of the Internal Revenue Code (IRC) since 1986. Most of the changes took effect on January 1, 2018. This article covers the TCJA’s impact on employer-provided fringe benefits and offers insights, based on conversations with employers across the country, on how the changes may influence employers’ fringe benefit offerings in the years to come.

FMLA And ADA Claims Put To Bed Where Employer Did Not Know Employee Had Sleep Apnea At The Time Her Employment Was Terminated.

Jackson Lewis P.C. • March 21, 2018
Sometimes what you don’t know can help you. In Guzman v. Brown County, a 911 Dispatcher who was fired after being late repeatedly had her FMLA interference and retaliation claims sent to dreamland by the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals. The Appeals court held that the moribund claim should stay that way because the Dispatcher could not show that she suffered from sleep apnea at the time of her termination or that the supervisor who made the decision to terminate her employment knew of her claimed history of apnea when he reached that conclusion. The Court also declined to resurrect her ADA claims for the same reasons.

What to Make of the DOL'S PAID Program

Franczek Radelet P.C • March 21, 2018
You may have read about the U.S. Department of Labor’s new “Payroll Audit Independent Determination” or “PAID’’ pilot program. Under this program, the DOL invites employers to voluntarily audit their payroll practices and disclose any “non-compliant practices” to the DOL. The DOL then reviews the employer’s records and calculations of what is owed to employees, and tells the employer what it thinks the employer should pay. The employer then pays its employees, and employees sign a release of any FLSA claims against the employer. Participating employers are not subject to civil monetary penalties and are not required to pay liquidated damages to employees. (Available details on the program are included in the DOL’s press release and a FAQ page on the DOL’s website.)

Puerto Rico Governor Announces Proposed Plan to Revamp the Labor Force

Littler Mendelson, P.C. • March 21, 2018
On March 21, 2018, the Governor of Puerto Rico announced his “Initiative to Reform the Labor Force,” with the express goal of increasing the employment rate. Standing alongside the presidents of the Senate and House of Representatives, the Governor anticipated this Initiative would include: elimination of the Christmas Bonus; implementation of a “Bonus for Work;” a tiered increase of the minimum wage; a reduction of sick and vacation leave; a reassurance that all recipients of the Nutritional Assistance Program (PAN, for its Spanish acronym) between the ages of 18 and 55 will join the labor force; and the repeal of Act 80 (indemnifying unjust dismissals). The Governor also intends to increase tax incentives and lower the current rates for individuals as well as corporations.

Beware the BOFE Investigation

Ogletree Deakins • March 21, 2018
Beware the Bureau of Field Enforcement (BOFE) investigation in 2018. The California Labor Commissioner’s Office has ramped up investigations by its BOFE unit to enforce wage and hour compliance. The Bureau investigates complaints and takes enforcement actions that can include audits of a company’s payroll records and workers’ compensation insurance coverage, and the issuance of citations for violations of California Labor Code sections. From 2010 to 2016, the ratio of citations to inspections increased from 45 percent to 85 percent, and the assessed wages per inspection increased from around $2,400 to more than $15,000.

Washington Ban-the-Box Law Limits Criminal Background Inquiries

Jackson Lewis P.C. • March 21, 2018
Effective June 6, 2018, Washington will be the next state to implement “ban the box” legislation restricting employers from inquiring about a job applicant’s criminal background during the initial stages of the application process.
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Jackson Lewis P.C. | California | California Transportation Industry Waives Goodbye to Enforcement of Federal Arbitration Act Provisions in Employment Contracts (March 07, 2018)

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