January 14, 2019| Blog
As 2018 came to a close, a pair of federal court decisions provide much needed guidance on two thorny wage and hour issues that are being increasingly litigated nationwide under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). In one decision, the court held that an employee who was paid all owed wages shortly after filing a lawsuit was not a “prevailing party” for fee-shifting purposes. In another decision, a federal appeals court confirmed that FLSA minimum wage violations are measured based on the workweek.
January 8, 2019| Blog
A New Year’s Resolution from a High-Resolution Blog Feature and what's ahead in 2019.
January 8, 2019| Blog
Welcome to 2019, readers! With the new year comes certain changes to New York Paid Family Leave (NYPFL), and we want to make sure you are up to date so that any leave requests you may receive under this law are properly addressed.
Changing Tides in Parental Leave Policies: Maintaining a Lawful Policy in Light of Recent EEOC Scrutiny
January 4, 2019| Blog
Over the past five years, parental leave policies have become increasingly commonplace among employers. Such policies are important tools for recruiting and retaining talented employees, and are important components of a positive and inclusive company culture. Meanwhile, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is paying increased attention to how these policies may violate discrimination laws by providing unequal benefits along gender lines. Recently, the EEOC has placed certain policies under scrutiny. Taking lessons from these cases and other recent developments, this post provides employers with tips for ensuring that their parental leave policies are compliant with relevant laws.
December 24, 2018| Blog
It’s that time of year! New York State minimum wage rate and overtime exemption salary thresholds are set to increase. The changes go into effect on December 31, 2018 and are summarized below. We also take a moment to focus on the significant rise in the salary basis threshold.
December 12, 2018| Blog
Health Reimbursement Arrangements (or “HRAs”) are employer-funded, account-based group health plans, which are used to reimburse certain medical expenses incurred by eligible employees, their spouses, and their dependents. While participants can use HRA proceeds to pay for certain medical insurance premiums, current law prohibits employers from offering HRAs to their employees for the purpose of reimbursing the cost of individual health insurance policies. This is about to change. This post explains why.
December 7, 2018| Blog
A work-from-home arrangement can be a productive means to attract and retain talent. Effective work-from-home policies allow companies to provide flexibility and support to employees, while maintaining productivity and meeting other work requirements. Offering this voluntary benefit, however, can create headaches and legal risk for employers. Here are six key considerations for employers to think about in offering such arrangements to their workforces.
Association Health Plan Perspectives (Part 3): Handicapping the Legal Challenge by State Attorneys General to the Final U.S. Department of Labor AHP Regulations
December 4, 2018| Blog
In the last post in this series, we examined the regulatory response by certain states to the final regulations governing association health plans, which were issued by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) in June 2018. 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 seeking to invalidate the final regulations. The case is State of New York et al. v. United States Department of Labor et al, Civ. Action 18-1747. This post scrutinizes the arguments set out in the states’ complaint and their brief filed this past August in support of their Motion for Summary Judgment, which lays out their legal arguments.
November 2, 2018| Blog
In January 2018, we reported that Massachusetts employers with six or more employees “will soon be required to prepare and file” a new health care reporting form (referred to as the “healthcare coverage form”). Soon has now arrived. The Massachusetts Department of Revenue (DOR) recently issued a set of FAQs that provides a detailed explanation of the new Health Insurance Responsibility Disclosure (HIRD) reporting requirement.
November 1, 2018| Blog
With just days to go before the 2018 midterm elections, candidates are sending out their final pleas for voters’ endorsements and employers are taking steps to ensure that their employees have the ability to voice their choice. According to electionday.org, nearly 60% of voting-eligible Americans did not vote in the last midterm elections, with 35% of those nonvoters reporting that “scheduling conflicts with work or school” kept them from getting to the polls.
October 25, 2018| Blog
As of October 15, 2018, New York City employers are now required to engage in a “cooperative dialogue” when an employee requests a workplace accommodation. In a development that may have been overshadowed by the New York State sexual harassment prevention law, the New York City Council amended the New York City Human Rights Law (NYCHRL) in December 2017 to institute this requirement. Similar to, but more demanding than the “interactive process” contemplated by the federal Americans with Disabilities Act, this requirement imposes significant new duties on employers in New York City.
October 22, 2018| Blog
This month’s Bubbler highlights our upcoming Boston Employment Law Summit. On November 7, 2018, Mintz will bring together thought leaders to discuss a wide spectrum of timely issues impacting employers.
October 15, 2018| Video
Alden Bianchi explains the benefits Association Health Plans (AHPs) provide to small employers as well as the concerns they raise for states regarding their impact on the markets.
Association Health Plan Perspectives (Part 2): The Look-Through Rule and the Limits of State Regulatory Power
October 2, 2018| Blog
In a summary of the recently issued Association Health Plan (AHP) final regulations, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) rightly observed that AHPs are a species of multi-employer welfare arrangements, or MEWAs, that are subject to regulation under both federal and state laws. The insurance regulators in a handful of states have recently issued guidance that, in most cases, purports to prohibit AHPs from operating as “large group” plans. (The attached table summarizes and provides links to the guidance, state-by-state.) A common, though not universal, theme is that in no case may a collection of small employers be combined to form a large group. Certain states address collateral issues. Pennsylvania, for example, makes the further claim that in no case may a self-employed individual with no employees participate in an AHP. We think that the states have overreached. This post explains why.
New York State Department of Labor Releases Final Guidance Just Ahead of October 9, 2018 Compliance Deadline
October 2, 2018| Blog
The wait is over. The New York State Department of Labor (DOL) just released its final guidance with respect to New York State’s new anti-sexual harassment law. The release includes final templates for the model sexual harassment prevention policy, complaint form, and harassment prevention training program.
The Massachusetts Division of Unemployment Assistance Issues Proposed Regulations Implementing EMAC Hardship Waivers
September 28, 2018| Blog
Responding to widespread resistance—principally on the part of small businesses—to the increase in the Employer Medical Assistance Contribution (“EMAC”) contributions and the addition of an EMAC supplemental contribution, Massachusetts lawmakers amended the EMAC rules in 2017 to add hardship waiver provisions. (Click here for a summary of the EMAC rules.) The Massachusetts Division of Unemployment Assistance (DUA) recently issued a proposed regulation implementing the hardship waiver rules. This post examines those proposed regulations.
September 25, 2018| Blog
Until a few cases over the last year, courts appeared to be just fine maintaining the paradox that while individuals could lawfully treat their disabilities with licensed medical marijuana use, employers could choose to pass on employing medical marijuana users by relying on the illegality of marijuana under federal law. Before last year, courts in Oregon, California, Colorado, Michigan, and New Mexico all rejected employment claims brought by plaintiffs under state marijuana legalization and lawful off-duty conduct laws. Last year in Massachusetts and Rhode Island, state courts challenged that paradox, and this month, in Connecticut, a federal court did the same.
September 24, 2018| Blog
Earlier this month, the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau (CFPB) issued updated model disclosure forms required under the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). The updated “Summary of Your Rights Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act” form, which became effective on September 21, 2018, is one of many notices employers must provide under the FCRA when using a consumer reporting agency (CRA) to run a background check during the hiring process. The revised form is located here along with a revised Summary of Consumer Identity Theft Rights form.
September 12, 2018| Blog
Welcome to this month’s edition of the Bubbler! Now that fall is fast approaching we’re refreshing your memory of some key recent developments as we head into the new season:
September 12, 2018| Blog
Adherence to the COBRA health care continuation rules is not always high on an employer’s list of priorities. Compliance is often “outsourced,” and even when handled “in-house,” it rarely consumes much attention. A recent case, Hager v. DBG Partners, Inc., illustrates that inattention can be costly for employers. This post explains why.
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