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The Bubbler


In the employment world, April showers bring regulatory updates impacting employers and employees throughout the country. We’ve provided brief updates below, along with links to our other posts providing more detail on each of these topics. If employers comply with these updates, there will surely be flowers come May.

  • The U.S. Department of Labor released a proposed rule increasing the salary basis threshold for white-collar exemptions. Under the proposed rule, the salary threshold necessary to qualify for a white collar exemption under federal law would be increased approximately 50% from $455 to $679 per week (from $23,660 to $35,308 per year). You can read more about this proposal here.
  • The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985 (“COBRA”) continues to plague employers who try to navigate its requirements. COBRA becomes particularly complex in the context of an employee termination. You can read more about what employers needs to know about COBRA coverage for terminated employees here.
  • On February 25, 2019 the U.S. Department of Labor, Department of Health and Human Services, Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service published a request for information on grandfathered plans, signaling that a relaxation of the grandfathering rules may be forthcoming. You can read more about the history of grandfathered plans and the information requests here.
  • The Massachusetts Department of Family and Medical Leave (the “Department”), who oversees the Commonwealth’s Paid Family and Medical Leave (“PFML”) program, has been very active. First, the Department posted its Employer and Employee Toolkits online, which you can access here. Second, the Department published revised draft regulations for public comment and hearing. The regulations are set to be finalized on July 1, 2019, which is also the effective date of MAPFML and the commencement date for payroll deductions from employee paychecks. You can learn more about the key differences in the revised regulations here.
  • The Internal Revenue Service provided recent guidance regarding Section 4960 of the tax code. Section 4960 was enacted in December 2017 and imposes an excise tax on the amount of remuneration in excess of $1 million, plus any excess parachute payment paid by an applicable tax-exempt organization to certain covered employees. We explore the nuances of this recent guidance here.
  • The battle over Association Health Plans continues. On July 26, 2018, 11 states (New York, Massachusetts, California, Delaware, Kentucky, Maryland, New Jersey, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Washington) and the District of Columbia filed a complaint in the U.S. Federal District Court for the District of Columbia on July 26, 2018 seeking to invalidate a June 2018 U.S. Department of Labor final regulation.  On March 28, 2019, United States District Judge John D. Bates sided with the States, concluding that the Final Regulation is an unreasonable interpretation of ERISA. You can learn more about the decision and its implications here.

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Natalie C. Groot is a Mintz attorney who litigates employment disputes on a wide variety of employment and labor matters. Natalie's litigation practice includes non-competition and non-solicitation agreements; discrimination, sexual harassment, and retaliation claims; and wage and hour compliance matters.