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Will Grandfathered Plans be Rescued?

March 19, 2019 | Blog | By Patricia Moran

On February 25, 2019 the Department of Labor, Department of Health and Human Services, Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service (the “Departments”) published a request for information (the “ROI”) on grandfathered plans, signaling that a relaxation of the grandfathering rules may be forthcoming.  This post gives a brief history of grandfathered plans and describes the information requested in the ROI (for which responses are due March 27, 2019).
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When the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was signed some nine years ago, many employers wondered what would become of COBRA (aka, the continuation coverage requirements of the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985). COBRA seems as strong as ever. Not surprisingly, however, the COBRA rules are complex, and we frequently field questions from employers who are facing employee terminations and just want to get things right.  Here are some of the more common questions we receive from our employer clients. 
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The Department of Labor (DOL) has issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) that it estimates would convert more than one million now overtime-exempt workers to non-exempt, overtime-eligible employees.  Currently, the so-called “white collar” exemptions under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) provide that employees who are paid a salary of at least $455 per week ($23,660 per year) and primarily perform executive, administrative, or professional duties (the “job duties test”) need not be paid overtime. The NPRM would change this, by increasing the salary threshold. If adopted, the proposed rule would make other changes, too.

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On April 30, 2019, Mintz will be hosting its Fifth Annual Employment Law Summit at the Princeton Club in New York City.
The Bubbler

The Bubbler - February 2019

February 19, 2019 | Blog | By Audrey Nguyen, Paul Huston

January ushered in many new developments across many employment law compliance categories. We hope this summary will help you keep track of the changes most relevant for you.
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Employers must provide applicants and employees with separate federal and state Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) disclosure forms, said the 9th Circuit in an important decision released last week.
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Massachusetts Paid Family Leave Law: What Employers Need to Know Now

February 6, 2019 | Blog | By Emma Follansbee

Last month, the Massachusetts Department of Family and Medical Leave (the “Department”), issued answers to a handful of frequently asked questions for both employers and employees, and published draft regulations for the implementation of Massachusetts Paid Family Leave (“MAPFL”).  Although the benefits under this new law are not available to employees until 2021, employers’ obligations begin in just a few months. This post delves into some of the key guidance issued by the Department thus far and explores some of the open questions posed at the first listening session in Boston on January 30, 2019.
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The District of Columbia Council recently repealed a law approved by voters in a June 2018 referendum that would have fundamentally changed the way tipped workers in the District are paid.  Embedded in the repeal legislation, which passed in October 2018 and took effect on December 13, 2018, are provisions that place new and potentially substantial requirements on employers of tipped workers in the District. These new requirements are ostensibly designed to prevent abuse of tipped workers.  Because the repeal and its new requirements are now in effect, employers of tipped workers such as restaurants, bars, and other service establishments should immediately take note and plan for compliance. 

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An Update on the Collection of Biometric Data in Illinois

January 30, 2019 | Blog | By Natalie Young

Our sister Privacy & Cybersecurity blog discusses a recent Illinois Supreme Court ruling on the collection of Biometric Data. This decision will significantly impact litigation under the state’s unique Biometric Information Privacy Act, creating a potential boon for plaintiffs.
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The Affordable Care Act (the “ACA”) requires most health plans to provide first dollar coverage of FDA-approved contraception methods. Nearly nine years after the ACA’s enactment, this contraception mandate continues to be one of the most embattled provisions of the ACA. This post covers recent rulemaking and court decisions impacting the contraception mandate.
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Two Recent FLSA Decisions Bring Good News to Employers

January 14, 2019 | Blog | By Brendan Lowd

          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. 

The Bubbler
A New Year’s Resolution from a High-Resolution Blog Feature and what's ahead in 2019.
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New Year, New Changes to New York Paid Family Leave

January 8, 2019 | Blog | By Brie Kluytenaar

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.

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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.

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Increases to New York State Minimum Wage and Salary Thresholds About to Go Into Effect

December 24, 2018 | Blog | By Michael Arnold, Alison Renner

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.
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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.
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Six Considerations for a Successful Work-From-Home Arrangement

December 7, 2018 | Blog | By Natalie Young

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.

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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.
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The New Massachusetts HIRD Form

November 2, 2018 | Blog | By Alden Bianchi

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.
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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.
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