U.S. Department of Labor Issues Final Overtime Rule

U.S. Department of Labor Issues Final Overtime Rule The U.S. Department of Labor (U.S. DOL) issued the final FLSA overtime rule which will make nearly 1.3 million workers eligible for overtime pay. In the announcement published yesterday, the DOL finalized the first updates to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) in fifteen years. This ends a several-year battle over the adjustments to the FLSA which have continued since they were initially published in 2015 during the Obama Administration. The new rules become effective on January 1, 2020, which will give employers a few months to prepare. The changes to the FLSA include updates to the standard salary level for each of the exemptions to the overtime provisions. Under the new rule, the minimum salary threshold would increase from the current level of $455 per week ($23,660 per year) to $684 per week (equivalent to $35,568 per year). In addition, the Highly Compensated Employee (HCE) salary level is increasing from $100,000 to $107,432 annually. Also, the rule permits incentive pay and bonuses to count towards up to 10% of the standard salary level provided it is paid at least annually. These changes will require that employers conduct an analysis of any...

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Nevada Passes Law that Restricts Employer Drug Test Use in Hiring

A new Nevada law that bans employers from refusing to hire job candidates who fail a drug test due to the presence of marijuana has specifically carved out Fire, EMS, or employers whose employees must operate a motor vehicle.  The new law, which was signed by Governor Sisolak on June 5th makes it unlawful for most employers to fail to hire a job candidate on the basis of failing a drug screen due to the presence of marijuana.  Nevada is the first state to pass a law of this nature.  The new law takes effect in 2020. Many employers are struggling to address their employee’s drug use and its impact on the workplace as thirty-three (33) states and the District of Columbia have passed laws that legalize marijuana in some form.  This is particularly difficult with EMS and public safety employers.  Generally, most EMS and public safety employers prohibit employee use of marijuana and other drugs because they are federal contractors and are subject to the Drug Free Workplace Act.  Other employers prohibit employee drug use because EMS personnel perform “safety sensitive” positions as defined under the Department of Transportation Regulations.  However, those employers who are not subject to the...

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EEO-1 Reporting Requirement Update

In February the American Ambulance Association (AAA) alerted members that the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) had announced that it has postponed the opening of EEO-1 data reporting until early March and also extended the deadline for employers to submit their EEO-1 data until May 31, 2019.  Each year, certain federal contractors and employers with 100 or more employees are required to report the EEO-1 Component 1 data which includes information about gender, and race/ethnicity of the employer’s workforce by job type groupings.  This data is used by the EEOC to ensure compliance with the Federal non-discrimination laws. In 2016, the Obama administration required that covered employers report wage and hour data (Component 2) along with their EEO-1 Component 1 data starting in 2017.  However, the Trump administration suspended the EEO-1 pay and hour reporting (Component 2) requirements stating that they were too burdensome for employers.  ON March 4, 2019, after a lengthy legal proceeding, a federal judge lifted the Trump administration stay on wage and hour reporting stating that there was no reason to delay this reporting the Component 2 data. Last week, the EEOC announced that it will collect pay and hour data for the 2017 and 2018...

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The Paycheck Fairness Act

Following many states that have enacted laws geared towards preventing or eliminating inequities in pay between men and women, The Paycheck Fairness Act which was introduced on March 27, 2019, will prohibit employers from asking job applicants about their salary histories or using those histories to base pay or compensation rates.  The Act would require that employers to justify any pay disparities as job-related and would also permit employees to file class action lawsuits based on pay discrimination.  Numerous states around the country have passed laws that prohibit pay history inquiries.   It is strongly recommended that employers conduct a wage analysis to identify any pay disparities between individuals from any of the protected classes performing comparable work....

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New Parents Act Introduced to Provide for Paid Family Leave

On March 27, 2019, Senator Marco Rubio (FL) and Mitt Romney (UT) introduced the New Parents Act which would provide paid parental leave for up to three months by permitting new parents to tap into future Social Security Benefits by either delaying or reducing those benefits later in life.  The Bill also permits new parents to continue to work and use the funds to pay for childcare expenses.  There are several bills that are currently under consideration that provide for paid Family Leave by either postponing Social Security Benefits (The Child Rearing & Development Leave Empowerment Act (CRADLE) and The Family & Medical Insurance Leave Act (FAMILY) which provides for some wage replacement that is funded through a tax on payroll.  These Bills follow numerous state laws recently enacted or currently under consideration around the country to provide a form of paid family and medical leave....

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DOL Issues Long-Awaited Proposed Overtime Rule

On March 7, 2019, the United States Department of Labor (USDOL) issued the long-awaited Notice of Proposed Rule Making (NPRM) which proposes changes to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) overtime provisions.  These proposed changes, which are detail in the 219-page document, follow nearly three years of legal actions challenging the USDOL’s 2016 proposed FLSA overtime changes. A quick history on these proposed changes.  On May 23, 2016, the USDOL issued the 2016 FLSA proposed overtime rule changes that would have more than doubled the minimum salary thresholds for the so called “white collar” overtime exemptions.  Under the 2016 proposed rule, the minimum salary threshold would have increased from $455 per week ($23,660 per year) to $913 per week ($47, 476 per year) and the Highly Compensated Employee (HCE) salary level from $100,000 to $134,000 annually.  Just before the changes were about to become effective, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas invalidated the proposed rule stating that the USDOL lacked the authority to propose these changes.  Shortly thereafter, the proposed changes were put on hold. This latest proposed rule formally rescinds the 2016 proposed rule and would provide for updates to the standard salary level...

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EEOC Extends EEO-1 Reporting Deadline

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) had announced that it has postponed the opening of EEO-1 data reporting until early March and also extended the deadline for employers to submit their EEO-1 data until May 31, 2019.  The EEOC has cited that these deadlines have been postponed due to the lapse in funding as a result of government shut down.  The EEO-1 is an annual survey that requires all private employers with 100 or more employees and federal government contractors or first-tier subcontractors with 50 or more employees and a federal contract, sub­contract or purchase order amounting to $50,000 or more to file the EEO-1 report.  The EEO-1 Report data includes data about wages, gender, and race/ethnicity of the employer’s workforce by job type groupings.  This data is used by the EEOC to ensure compliance with the Federal non-discrimination laws.  For additional information about filing your organization’s EEO-1 Report, visit the EEOC’s employer resource page or contact the AAA for assistance....

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HHS OCR Requests Feedback on HIPAA Privacy Rule

On January 28, 2019, the Office of Health and Human Services the Office for Civil Rights (HHS OCR) issues a Request for Information (RFI) seeking input from covered entities regarding several aspects of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).  Specifically, the HHS OCR is seeking input regarding several elements of the Privacy Rule, including the following: Encouraging information-sharing for treatment and care coordination Facilitating parental involvement in care Addressing the opioid crisis and serious mental illness Accounting for disclosures of PHI for treatment, payment, and health care operations as required by the HITECH Act Changing the current requirement for certain providers to make a good faith effort to obtain an acknowledgment of receipt of the Notice of Privacy Practices I am aware that several AAA member services who have struggled with many of the HIPAA restrictions regarding the sharing of PHI with other healthcare entities.  In particular, with regard to individuals who suffer opioid overdoses and efforts to ensure the individual has access to drug treatment programs.  Additionally, HHS OCR is seeking input from covered healthcare providers regarding the “good faith” efforts to obtain acknowledgement of the receipt of Privacy Practices.  This has been a considerable challenge for...

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