Minimum Wage Changes in 2020

In addition to the 2020 increase concerning the minimum amount employers must pay executive, administrative, and professional employees for these workers to be exempt from the Fair Labor Standards Act’s minimum wage and overtime requirements, many state and local level changes to the minimum wage are scheduled to occur throughout 2020. Click here for more information, as well as a rate chart detailing the changes, courtesy of Littler. If you have any employees currently earning less than the new minimum wage in states or municipalities where the minimum wage is changing, please make sure you log into Efficenter and update these employees’ pay rates to properly reflect the new required minimum wage.

 

IRS to Release New Version of W-4 in 2020

Due to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, the IRS has announced that a new Form W-4 will be in effect starting on January 1, 2020. The new design eliminates withholding allowances and is expected to increase the accuracy of the withholding system. At this time, employers should continue to use the current 2019 version of the form. Adams Keegan will release further information and guidance prior to the new year. In the meantime, you may review the IRS Statement and the FAQs regarding the new form.

 

DOL Proposes Regulations Regarding the FLSA’s 80/20 Rule & Tip-Pooling

The Department of Labor announced a proposed rule that would eliminate the current requirement for employers in the restaurant, hospitality, and other related industries to track and pay tipped employees the full minimum wage for time spent on duties that do not generate tips, such as rolling napkins or cleaning tables, if that work exceeds 20% of their shift. The DOL’s proposal would allow employers to receive the tip credit (if state law allows) regardless of the amount of time the tipped employee spends on non-tipped side tasks as long as this work is done concurrently with, right before, or shortly after the primary tip-generating tasks. In addition, this proposal would make it easier for employers that do not take a tip credit to require their tipped employees to share gratuities with non-tipped employees. A final ruling on this proposal is expected in 2020.  Click here to read more, courtesy of Jackson Lewis.

 

California OSHA Imposes Wildfire Regulations

Employers in California are advised to take appropriate steps to protect employees from exposure to wildfire smoke and related hazards. Cal/OSHA has released emergency regulations on identifying and controlling harmful exposures, communicating and training employees, as well as providing specific sampling requirements for employers monitoring exposure with direct reading instruments. Click here for more on this topic from the California Department of Industrial Relations.

 

San Antonio’s Paid Sick Ordinance

San Antonio’s recent Sick Leave Ordinance may require employers to provide employees with one hour of sick time for every 30 hours worked, up to 56 hours per year. This is slated to go into effect on December 1, 2019. However, local business groups are seeking to overturn this law before it goes into effect by requesting an injunction to block the ordinance during a November 7 District Court hearing. San Antonio joins other Texas cities Austin and Dallas in attempting to implement local sick leave laws that face legal challenges in the state.  

 

Mandatory State Poster & Notice Updates

Nevada has updated the Occupational Safety and Health poster.

Wisconsin has a new Unemployment Insurance poster.

 

California Redefines Standard For Contractor Classification

Last month, the California Legislature passed Assembly Bill 5, which eliminates the application of the common-law test to determine whether someone can be classified as an independent contractor instead of an employee. The state now applies the more stringent ABC test, which means any person providing labor or services for remuneration will be considered an employee unless the hiring entity can demonstrate the three prongs of the ABC test are all met. Click here to read more on this topic from Littler.

 

Minnesota Wage Theft Prevention Ordinance

Minnesota’s recent Wage Theft Law requires employers to provide written information to employees regarding their pay rate, pay schedule, time off accruals, and certain other terms of employment. These notices should be provided at the start of their employment and anytime during employment that any of this information changes. The City of Minneapolis has also passed legislation that places additional requirements on employers, such as providing detailed notice to workers of their rights under the Minneapolis Sick and Safe Ordinance. Click here for more information on the Minneapolis requirements, courtesy of Jackson Lewis.

 

Final Overtime Rule Released by the U.S. Department of Labor

The Department of Labor has updated the earnings threshold necessary to exempt executive, administrative, and professional employees from the FLSA’s minimum wage and overtime requirements. The standard salary level increases from $455 per week ($23,660 annually) to $684 per week ($35,568 annually), while the duties test under these exemptions remains unchanged. The final rule also increases the annual wage requirement for a “highly compensated employee” by $7,432, and the rule allows employers to use nondiscretionary bonuses to satisfy a portion of the wage level thresholds. This rule is effective on January 1, 2020, so employers should begin to prepare and budget accordingly. Click here to read the full news release from the Department of Labor, and please feel free to contact a member of your Adams Keegan support team with any questions.

 

Continue Using the Current Form I-9

Although the current version of the Form I-9 has an expiration date of August 31, 2019, the USCIS recently posted guidance on their website that tells employers to continue using this expired version of the form until further notice. Some minor revisions are expected on the new form regarding the List of Acceptable Documents, as well as clearer instructions on who can be an authorized representative of the company in Section 2. However, nothing has been published to date and the version expiring 8/31/19 is still in effect for verifying employment eligibility.

 

Massachusetts Paid Family Leave Deductions Begin in October

The Massachusetts Department of Family and Medical Leave has published final regulations for Paid Family and Medical Leave, and payroll withholdings will begin on October 1, 2019. Benefits under the program will be available to employees beginning in January 2021. Employers should post the Paid Family and Medical Leave poster in a conspicuous location at the worksite. Click here for more information from Mass.gov.

 

Mandatory State Poster & Notice Updates

Missouri has revised the Workers’ Compensation poster.

Arkansas has updated the Minimum Wage poster.

 

Connecticut to Increase Minimum Wage

Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont recently signed legislation that will gradually increase the state’s minimum wage to $15.00 per hour by June 2023. The first increase is scheduled for October 1, 2019 when the current minimum hourly rate of $10.10 will increase to $11.00. Click here to read Governor Lamont’s press release.

 

Other Minimum Wage Changes in 2019

As mentioned in previous employer alerts, state and local level changes to the minimum wage are scheduled to occur throughout 2019. Jurisdictions such as New Jersey, Oregon, and the District of Columbia are among those with rate changes set to occur on July 1. Click here for a chart of state-level minimum wage increases, courtesy of Fisher Phillips.

 

Employers Must Report Pay Data to EEOC in September

The EEOC plans to require employers to report two years of pay data by September 30, 2019. The pay and hours worked data, also known as Component 2 data, from the 2017 and 2018 payrolls must be broken down by sex, race, and ethnicity. The EEOC expects to open the reporting window for Component 2 data by mid-July, but will notify employers of the exact date at a later time. This development has no effect on the current EEO-1 reporting requirements of traditional Component 1 data, and applicable employers should proceed with filing the current version of the EEO-1 report by the May 31 deadline. Click here for more information, courtesy of The National Law Review.

 

New Jersey Bans Non-Disclosure Agreements, Among States Mandating Retirement Savings 

Governor Phil Murphy recently signed S. 121, which imposes significant limitations upon an employer’s ability to enter into NDAs when settling discrimination, retaliation, and harassment claims. The Act, which includes several wide-sweeping and ambiguous provisions, is part of a larger nationwide movement targeting NDAs and release provisions in employment-related contracts. Click here for more information on S. 121, courtesy of Littler Mendelson. In other New Jersey news, the Garden State has also passed Assembly Bill 4134 into law, which creates the New Jersey Retirement Savings Program. Employers with at least 25 employees will be required to set up an automatic payroll deduction for employees to participate in a state-managed retirement savings program unless employers already offer their own retirement savings plan. Other states, such as Illinois and Connecticut, are also expected to implement similar retirement savings mandates this year.

 

EEOC Requests To Collect Pay Data in September

The EEOC is targeting a date of September 30 to collect pay data from employers. Specifically, the revised EEO-1 report being proposed would include W-2 earnings and hours worked in addition to an employee’s job category, sex, race, and ethnicity. The current EEO-1 reporting site opened on March 18 without the capability to collect this additional data, and at this time applicable employers should proceed with filing the current version of the EEO-1 report by May 31. Click here for more information, courtesy of The National Law Review.

 

Federal Court Stops December 1 Implementation of New Overtime Rules

A federal court in the Eastern District of Texas granted a nationwide injunction blocking the enforcement of the FLSA overtime rule. Employers are no longer required to meet the December 1 deadline. The lawsuit, filed by 21 states and a variety of employer groups, argued that the Department of Labor (DOL) exceeded its authority when it nearly doubled the salary level required for overtime exemption from $23,660 ($455/week) to $47,476 ($913/week).

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USCIS Releases New I-9 Form

USCIS has released a new version of the Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification. Until January 22, 2017, Employers have the choice of using the new 11/14/2016 version of the form, OR using the 03/08/2013 version. However, by January 22, 2017, employers must use the new Form I-9 for all new hires, and also for reverifying any existing employees who require reverification of their work authorization. For reverifying an existing employee, the employer must complete Section 3 of the new version and attach it to the employee’s existing I-9. The issuance of the new I-9 version does NOT compel an employer to complete brand new I-9s for its entire existing workforce in a blanket fashion.

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Adams Keegan Webinar | New Overtime Rules Explained & Action Plans

On May 18, the President and Secretary of Labor announced the publication of the Final Rule updating overtime regulations. This may have an impact on your compensation policies and practices. The attached Employer Compliance Alert addresses what you need to know and do to ensure compliance.

As with many complex topics, Adams Keegan provides additional information to help clarify your understanding of the Final Rule.  Our goal is to ensure that you're aware of all the steps needed to ensure compliance well in advance of the Department of Labor's December 31, 2016 deadline. Click below for a link to a recording of a recent webinar, as well as the pdf of the presentation.

Webinar: New Overtime Rules Explained
Webinar Recording
Webinar Presentation

New Overtime Rules Released | Effective December 1, 2016

On May 18, 2016, President Obama and Labor Secretary Perez announced the publication of the Department of Labor's Final Rule updating the overtime regulations which will automatically extend overtime pay protections to an expected 4 million workers within the first year of implementation. This is the final stage of the President's initiative beginning July 2015 directing the U.S. Department of Labor to update regulations to better define and delimit the traditional "white collar" exemptions under the Fair Labor Standards Act.

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EEOC Proposes Addition of Pay Data to EEO-1 Reports

On February 1, 2016, the EEOC published a proposed revisions to the EEO-1, Employer Information Report, in the Federal Register. A public hearing was held on March 16, 2016, to gather information and hear public comment on the proposal. Written comments to the EEOC's proposal were due Friday, April 1, 2016.

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FMLA Definition of Spouse Revised

On Friday, March 27, 2015, the Department of Labor’s (DOL) revisions to the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) regulations’ definition of “spouse” become effective.

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Twenty-one states increase minimum wage, tip credit in 2015

In 2015, twenty-one states will see increases to the state minimum wage and/or tip credit. It is especially important for employers with multi-state operations to know the developments in the law.

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Illinois employers banned from asking job applicants about criminal conviction history

In 2014, Illinois joined a host of other states that enacted what has been commonly called a “ban the box” law as the laws prohibit questions about criminal convictions on job applications.

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Illinois employers must post pregnancy accommodation notices

The new Illinois state law, P.A. 98-1050, amends the Illinois Human Rights Act to increase protections for pregnant employees and new mothers in the workplace.

 

Beginning January 1, 2015, Illinois employers must post information about pregnancy rights in the workplace in a conspicuous location on the employer’s premises and include the protections in their employee handbooks.

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DC employers face new notice requirements

On September 19, 2014, District of Columbia Mayor Vincent Gray signed into law the Wage Theft Prevention Amendment Act of 2014 (“the Act”), increasing both employer notice requirements and employer liability.  It is anticipated that the Act will take effect January 14, 2015, though with a new Congress beginning in January, the mayor’s office announced the law may not take effect until late February or even late March.

 

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Addressing Ebola in the workplace

Due to the spread of Ebola in West Africa and the United States, many employers are seeking recommendations on how to respond to workplace concerns and reduce liability. The practical guidance offered in this article would also apply to the pandemics (H1N1, Bird Flu) of the last several years and highlight potential issues to consider when faced with serious illness in the workplace.

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Access denied: Tennessee limits employers’ access to personal online content

Tennessee recently joined over a dozen states that prohibit employers from requesting and requiring access to the personal internet accounts of job applicants and employees. (Other states that have enacted employment-related online privacy laws include Arkansas, California, Colorado, Illinois, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey, New Mexico, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wisconsin.)

The Employee Online Privacy Act of 2014, signed by Governor Bill Haslam on April 29, 2014, that will take effect January 1, 2015, is applicable to all employers, regardless of size. Read more from Littler

New Law Expands Parental Leave Rights for Small Business Owners’ Employees

Effective October 2014, the Maryland Parental Leave Act (PLA) provides eligible employees six (6) weeks of unpaid, job-protected parental leave for the birth of a child or the placement of a child with the employee for adoption or foster care. 

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New Mexico Law Requires Employers to Post Human Trafficking Notice

New Mexico Governor Susan Martinez approved a law requiring New Mexico employers to display a poster containing the National Human Trafficking Resource Hotline. New Mexico Employers subject to the Minimum Wage Act, including health facilities and state or local government agencies that manage transportation facilities (including highway rest areas), must have the poster displayed no later than July 1, 2014

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New EEOC Guidance Addresses Pregnancy Discrimination

On July 14, 2014, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) released new enforcement guidance on pregnancy discrimination, expanding the protections for pregnant employees provided under the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA).

The PDA, signed into law by President Carter in 1978, amended Title VII to make it unlawful as a form of sex discrimination for employers to discriminate on the basis of pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions. The PDA provided that pregnant women have a right to be treated the same as other employees who are “similar in their ability or inability to work.” It does not provide an absolute right to accommodation, but if temporarily disabled workers receive accommodations, then pregnant workers are also entitled to them. This enforcement guidance is the first comprehensive update to the PDA since 1983. Read more on the EEOC website.

DOL amends FMLA regulations

The Department of Labor (“DOL”) has developed a new poster reflecting the recently issued amended FMLA regulations.  According to the DOL website, covered employers may start using the new poster immediately, or may still use the old FMLA poster through March 7, 2013.

Please review the full FMLA compliance alert, which includes a link to the new post.