The U.S. Department of Labor (“DOL”) has updated its guidance on the Families First Coronavirus Relief Act (“FFCRA”), which was signed into law on March 18, 2020.  (A summary of the law is here.)  Regulations are coming in April.  In the meantime, the DOL’s current resources available are:

  1. A tip sheet for employees
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We are continuing to monitor developing issues facing employers due to the outbreak of COVID-19.  The latest is from Congress.

On March 13, the US House of Representatives passed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, (the “Act”) to  provide for emergency paid sick and family and medical leave for some employees around the country.  Public agencies and employers with fewer than 500 employees are covered by the Act, and can apply for tax credits each quarter to recoup payments made under the Act.

Please note that the Act has not gone into effect yet and is not final.  The Senate must also pass the Act before it becomes effective, and the Senate is likely to make changes.  Subject to those changes, below is a summary of the important items for employers to know about the Act in its current state.

Emergency Family and Medical Leave

Employees are eligible for up to 12 weeks of paid family and medical leave under the Act if they have worked for an employer for at least 30 days, and are absent from work for one of the following reasons:
Continue Reading House of Representatives Takes Steps to Provide Paid Leave to Employees Absent due to COVID-19; Senate Must Still Act

On March 22, the Department of Labor (“DOL”) published a new proposed rule that would make several changes to current overtime law.  The proposed rule, which is not yet in effect, would require that:

  • Employees make at least $679 per week ($35,308 annually) to potentially be exempt from overtime. (The current requirement, which has been in place since 2004, is at least $455 per week or $23,660 annually.)
  • Employers be allowed to use nondiscretionary bonuses and incentive payments such as commissions that are paid at least annually to satisfy up to 10 percent of the salary threshold.
  • “Highly compensated employees” make at least $147,414 per year (compared with $100,000 under current law).
  • Going forward, the DOL commit to periodically reviewing and updating the minimum salary threshold (after a public notice and comment period).

Continue Reading Department of Labor Proposes Rule to Make More Employees Eligible for Overtime

Employers know that the salary rule for “white collar” exemptions from President Obama’s Department of Labor (“DOL”) was blocked by a federal court last year (we blogged about that here).  (UPDATE: A Texas federal court invalided the rule on August 31, 2017.)  That rule would have more than doubled the salary requirement for an overtime exemption.  Now, President Trump’s DOL has formally announced that it will not pursue that rule.  Instead, it is soliciting comments to draft its own rule.

Employers have an opportunity to weigh in on what, if any, changes should be made to the white collar exemptions.  The DOL’s request for information suggests it is seriously considering making at least some changes to the exemptions. 
Continue Reading Department of Labor Seeks Input on New Rules for White Collar Exemptions