Massachusetts Court Has Determined that Employees Exempt from Federal Overtime Laws May Not Always Be Exempt from State Law

Fact Sheet #12: Agricultural Employers Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) addresses agriculture employers that encompasses farming and all divisions performed by a farmer along with the duties on a farm or in conjunction to operating a farm.

Federal law states

Virtually all employees engaged in agriculture are covered by the Act in that they produce goods for interstate commerce. There are, however, some exemptions which exempt certain employees from the minimum wage provisions, the overtime pay provisions, or both.

Continue reading Massachusetts Court Has Determined that Employees Exempt from Federal Overtime Laws May Not Always Be Exempt from State Law

NOW AVAILABLE: NY City Online Anti-Sexual Harassment Training Program

Attention NY City employers, as of April 1, 2019, all NYC employers with at least 15 employees are required to conduct annual, interactive sexual harassment training.  This training must be conducted once per calendar year.

To make complying with this new requirement easier for NYC employers, the NYC Commission on Human Rights recently published its interactive, an online anti-sexual harassment training program that meets the NYC training requirements AND the NY State training requirements.

NYC employers are able to develop their own training or hire an outside party to provide the training, but will then need to demonstrate that their training program meets the requirements of NYC Local Law 96 (2018) as well as those under NY State law.  Therefore, in order to ensure compliance, it is recommended that NYC employers use the training program provided by the NYCCHR.

Remember, anti-sexual harassment training that meets NYC’s requirements must be provided to:

  • any NYC employee who works more than 80 hours in a calendar year and for at least 90 days,
    • including independent contractors in NYC who have performed work for the company for more than 90 days and more than 80 hours in the calendar year
  • any employees who work a portion of their time in NYC or interact with employees in NYC, even if they are based elsewhere.

In addition, NYC law requires employers keep a record of all trainings, including a signed employee acknowledgment for at least three years.

Finally, the first round of training must be completed no later than December 31, 2019!

For more information regarding NYC anti-sexual harassment training requirements, FAQs may be found here.

NEW GUIDANCE From the Massachusetts Department of Family and Medical Leave

As we previously reported (in “NEW LAW – Paid Family and Medical Leave Coming to Massachusetts“), starting in 2021,  employees will be able to begin collecting paid family and medical leave benefits.

The Massachusetts Department of Family and Medical Leave recently published its draft regulations relating to the  Massachusetts Paid Family and Medical Leave Law.  While these proposed regulations largely mirror the existing law, they offer additional guidance on the following topics: Continue reading NEW GUIDANCE From the Massachusetts Department of Family and Medical Leave

NEW GUIDANCE: DOL Clarifies FMLA Leave Use And Designation

An FMLA-related question that has long plagued employers has (finally) been answered. Are employers allowed to require employees take FMLA leave when the absence is for an FMLA-qualifying reason?

Every employer has faced this type of request … Joe employee needs to take a leave of absence to care for his ailing mother.  Joe is an FMLA-eligible employee (he’s worked for the company for more than 12 months and for at least 1,250 hours in the past 12 months).  Joe works in an office with more than 50 employees.  Finally, the reason for the leave is FMLA-qualifying (his mother has a serious health condition).

Continue reading NEW GUIDANCE: DOL Clarifies FMLA Leave Use And Designation

The DOL Publishes Proposed Rule Clarifying The Calculation Of The Regular Rate Of Pay

On March 28, 2019, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) released a proposed rule that, if adopted, will clarify and update the “regular rate of pay” requirements in the Fair Labor Standards Act.

As a reminder, under the FLSA, employers are required to pay non-exempt employees overtime at 1.5 times their “regular rate of pay” for all hours worked over 40 in a workweek.  The regular rate of pay is all compensation from the employer that is not specifically excluded in  section 7(e) of the FLSA.  Some types of pay that are excluded from the regular rate of pay calculation include:

  • Discretionary bonuses,
  • vacation, sick or holiday pay,
  • the cost of health insurance,
  • employer contributions to retirement accounts,
  • reimbursements for business expenses.

Continue reading The DOL Publishes Proposed Rule Clarifying The Calculation Of The Regular Rate Of Pay

NEW GUIDANCE: NYC Publishes Model Policy for NYC Lactation Room Law

The New York City Commission on Human Rights (NYCCHR)  has released their model policies for the New York City lactation room law,  which went into effect on  March 18, 2019.  Local Law 185 and Local Law 186 , which passed in 2018 require:

  • Employers to provide employees with lactation accommodations,
    • Including a lactation room where employees can pump breast milk,
    • A reasonable time in which to pump breast milk.
  • Employers to have a written lactation policy that meet specific requirements under the law and employers must provide the policy to all new employees.

Continue reading NEW GUIDANCE: NYC Publishes Model Policy for NYC Lactation Room Law

NEW LAW: Maryland Minimum Wage To Increase To $15 By 2025

On March 28, 2019, the Maryland General Assembly voted to override the governor’s veto of a minimum wage bill (SB 280).  In taking this action, the Maryland legislature has enacted a new law increasing Maryland’s minimum wage from $10.10 to $15 an hour by 2025.

Under this new law, minimum wage in Maryland will start to increase in 2020 in accordance with the following schedule:

For large employers (employers with 15 or more employees)

  • January 1, 2020 — $11.00 per hour
  • January 1, 2021 — $11.75 per hour
  • January 1, 2022 — $12.50 per hour
  • January 1, 2023 — $13.25 per hour
  • January 1, 2024 — $14.00 per hour
  • January 1, 2025 — $15.00 per hour

For small employers (employers with 14 or fewer employees)

  • January 1, 2020 — $11.00 per hour
  • January 1, 2021 — $11.60 per hour
  • January 1, 2022 — $12.20 per hour
  • January 1, 2023 — $12.80 per hour
  • January 1, 2024 — $13.40 per hour
  • January 1, 2025 — $14.00 per hour
  • January 1, 2026 — $14.60 per hour
  • July 1, 2026 — $15.00 per hour

The new law takes effect on June 1, 2019, with the first increase occurring on January 1, 2020.  It is recommended that all Maryland employers prepare for these increases.

The NLRB Issues Two Advice Memoranda That Address Handbook Rules

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) historically has had broad reach when scrutinizing an employer’s company policies; however, two recent memorandums set a new standard in determining whether company policies violate the National Labor Relations Act, which prohibits employers from “restraining, coercing, or interfering with” employees who are attempting to improve working conditions.

Over the last decade, facially neutral policies, including Social Media, Cell Phone and Pay policies have been deemed illegal, if they are overly restrictive and unlawfully interfere with the exercise of rights protected by the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA).

Continue reading The NLRB Issues Two Advice Memoranda That Address Handbook Rules

NEW LAW: Philadelphia Passes Predictable Scheduling Law

The Philadelphia City Council recently passed the Fair Workweek Employment Standards Ordinance. Under this new law, which goes into effect on January 1, 2020, bring predictable scheduling requirements to large retail, hospitality and food service employers in Philadelphia.

Who is considered a large retail, hospitality and food service employer?

For purposes of the new law, a “large employer” is any retail, hospitality and food service employer who employs 250+ employees (full-time, part-time, or temporary) and has 30 or more locations worldwide.

Most importantly, the law considers franchises with separate ownership, but part of the same chain of business (e.g. all McDonalds franchises in Philadelphia) as the same “large employer” for purposes of this law. This means that many (if not all) franchise businesses in Philadelphia will be subject to this new law. Continue reading NEW LAW: Philadelphia Passes Predictable Scheduling Law