FFCRA Emergency Paid Leave Posting

Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) Emergency Paid Leave Posting As many of you are aware, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) Emergency Paid Family & Medical Leave Act and Emergency Paid Sick Leave provisions become effective tomorrow, April 1st.  I had hoped that the U.S. DOL would have published draft Regulations by the close of business today and prior to April 1st to give employers an indication as to how these provisions will be administered by the U.S. DOL.  As of the time of this email, the U.S. DOL has not published anything aside from the Frequently Asked Question (FAQs).  The U.S. DOL published FIELD ASSISTANCE BULLETIN No. 2020-1 that states that they will not bring enforcement actions against any employer who is out of compliance provided they can demonstrate that they have made a reasonable good faith effort to comply with the law.  We will make sure that we notify you as soon as the draft Regulations are published to ensure your organization is compliant. In the meantime, covered employers are required to post the Federal Employee Notice or the Non-Federal Employee Notice  in the same locations that they post similar notices by April 1, 2020.  Additionally,...

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Updated U.S. DOL Definition of Health Care Provider & Emergency Responders

The United States Department of Labor (U.S. DOL) has recently published an updated version of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) that provide further insight into which employees are included in the definition of “health care provider” and “emergency responder”. After the final language of the FFCRA was released, there were numerous questions about which EMS agency employees were considered “emergency responders” and potentially subject to being excluded from the group of employees eligible for Emergency Paid Family and Medical Leave and Emergency Paid Sick Leave.  The U.S. DOL has provided clarification in FAQ numbers, 55-57 respectively. 55. Who is a “health care provider” for purposes of determining individuals whose advice to self-quarantine due to concerns related to COVID-19 can be relied on as a qualifying reason for paid sick leave? The term “health care provider,” as used to determine individuals whose advice to self-quarantine due to concerns related to COVID-19 can be relied on as a qualifying reason for paid sick leave, means a licensed doctor of medicine, nurse practitioner, or other health care provider permitted to issue a certification for purposes of the FMLA. 56. Who is a “health care provider” who may...

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Proposed Rule Impacts Employer Sponsored Health Plans

A proposed rule published on November 27th by the IRS, U.S. DOL, and HHS would place new requirements on group health plans and health insurance providers. The rule would require providers to disclose cost-sharing information to participants, beneficiaries, and other covered individuals which would outline their liability to pay certain cost-sharing amounts and out-of-pocket expenses. This rule is part of a Trump Administration effort to foster competition among insurers and healthcare providers in the marketplace. An article published by the Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM) outlines the concerns many employers have regarding the costs associated with implementing the requirements of the proposed rule. These requirements include providing plan enrollees with an online self-service portal where they can see these cost-sharing amounts, as well as require greater collaboration between third party plan administrators, pharmacy benefit managers, and other specialty providers to ensure the accurate disclosure of enrollee financial obligations. Comments on the proposed rule are due by January 14, 2020....

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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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OSHA Injury Tracking Update

Earlier this week the AAA reminded its members of their obligation to post their 2018 injury data represented on the OSHA Form 300A in all work sites from February 1st through April 30th.  In addition, all EMS employers are required to report all injury data on the OSHA Injury Tracking Application (ITA).  Historically, all EMS employers were to electronically report the data represented on Form 300A.  However, larger employers (250 or more) also had to electronically submit the injury specific information from the Form 300 and Form 301 to the ITA.  OSHA announced yesterday that employers that larger employers will no longer be required to submit the information from Forms 300 and 301.  Citing privacy concerns, OSHA announced that employers of all sizes will only be required to submit the workplace injury summary information from Form 300A.

OSHA Reminder 2019

OSHA Injury Posting & Reporting of 2018 Injury Data It is important that employers remember that they must post a copy of their OSHA Form 300A which is a summary of workplace injuries starting February 1, 2018 through April 30, 2018.  The OSHA Form 300A is a summary of all job-related injuries and illnesses that occurred in an employer’s workplace during 2018.  If a company recorded no injuries or illnesses in 2018, the employer must enter “zero” on the total line. The form must be signed and certified by a company executive. The OSHA Form 300A Injury Summary must be displayed in a common area where notices to employees are usually posted.  In addition to posting these reports in the workplace, covered employers should be electronically submitting their 2018 workplace injury data to OSHA via the Injury Tracking Application (ITA).  If members need assistance with the workplace posting or electronic injury reporting submission, contact the AAA. 2019 OSHA Penalty Adjustment Also, a reminder to employers who are subject to OSHA or to those who operate in a state with an OSHA approved state level plan, the penalty amounts for OSHA violations are increasing effective the publication of the new rates...

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Opioid Bill Heads to President Trump’s Desk

The AAA is pleased to report that language we supported on grant funding for opioid protection training for first responders has passed both the House of Representatives and the Senate and is now headed to the President’s desk. On Wednesday, the Senate passed the Opioid Crisis Response Act with a bipartisan vote of 98-1 in the last necessary needed action before being signed into law by the President. The impact of this legislation on the ambulance industry includes providing resources and training so that first responders and other key community sectors, including emergency medical services agencies, can appropriately protect themselves from exposure to drugs such as fentanyl, carfentanil and other dangerous licit and illicit drugs. $36,000,000 will be given annually for each fiscal year from 2019 through 2023. The bill also gives $10,000,000 in supplemental competitive grants to areas that have a record of high seizure of fentanyl to be used toward training of law enforcement and other first responders on how best to handle fentanyl as well as to purchase protective equipment, including overdose reversal drugs. Lastly, the legislation allows the Department of Labor to award grants to states that have been heavily impacted by the opioid crisis in (more…)

Update on Opioid Legislation & Rural EMS Grant Program

The AAA continues to push on policy issues important to our members we are happy to provide an update on two pieces of legislation that we have been actively monitoring. Congress is proceeding with consideration of several legislative vehicles as they address key topics prior to the November elections. First Responder Opioid Grant Program The AAA is pleased to report that language we supported on grant funding for opioid protection training for first responders has passed the Senate. Based on an analysis by counsel, we believe all ambulance service agencies would be eligible to apply for the grants. In 2017, the Administration officially labeled the Opioid Crisis as a public health emergency, and in response Congress has finally taken action. On Monday, the Senate overwhelmingly passed the Opioid Crisis Response Act with a bipartisan vote of 99-1. The impact of this legislation on the ambulance industry includes providing resources and training so that first responders and other key community sectors, including emergency medical services agencies, can appropriately protect themselves from exposure to drugs such as fentanyl, carfentanil and other dangerous licit and illicit drugs. $36,000,000 will be given annually for each fiscal year from 2019 through 2023. The bill also (more…)

Executive Order on Association Health Plans (AHP)

Yesterday, the White House announced that President Trump has signed an Executive Order that directs the Secretary of Labor to consider expanding access to Association Health Plans (AHP) would give employers the right to form groups in multiple states for the purposes of negotiating health care benefits.  A change would require an change to the interpretation of Employee Retirement Security Act (ERISA).  In addition, the Executive Order directed the Departments of the Treasury, Labor, and Health and Human Services to consider changing several ACA restrictions, including low-cost short term limited duration insurance (STDLI) and Health Reimbursement Accounts (HRAs).  This Executive Order may impact the ACA insurance markets because it may attract the younger and healthier away from current plan groups causing those coverage costs to increase substantially....

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Electronic Injury and Illness Rules Delayed

As reported to members in late May, the United States Department of Labor (DOL) announced that Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) will further delay the implementation of the new Electronic Injury and Illness Rules that were scheduled to go into effect on July 1, 2017. The DOL announced today that they were further delaying the implementation until December 1, 2017. The DOL has stated that the delay is intended to give the agency “further review and consider the rule.”  We will continue to keep members posted of any pending changes to this or any DOL change....

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Overtime for PTO Bill Passes the House

Yesterday a bill that would possible amend the overtime provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act passed the House. H.R. 1180, titled the Working Families Flexibility Act of 2017 was introduced by Alabama Representative Martha Roby this past February. The proposed change would permit private employers who currently pay employees overtime for hours worked over 40 during a given week to substitute that overtime pay for compensatory paid time off in the amount of 1.5 hours for each hour of overtime worked. In order to do so, the employee would have to agree in writing with the substitution of PTO for overtime pay prior to working the overtime hours. The agreement must provide that the employee knowingly and voluntarily agrees to the substitution of PTO for overtime pay. In the case of unionized companies, the substitution can only be made if provided under the collective bargaining agreement. To be eligible to substitute PTO for overtime pay, the employee must have worked for the employer for at least 1000 hours during the preceding uninterrupted 12 month period before the agreement is made or the receipt of the compensatory PTO. The Bill provides for limitations to the number of hours that can...

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U.S. DOL Increasing Civil Penalties

The Department Of Labor published two interim final rules that will adjust the penalties for enforcement actions by its several of its agencies.  The penalties are increasing because Congress passed the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act in 2015 last November with the intent of improving the effectiveness of civil monetary penalties and hopes of maintaining their deterring effect.  Under the law, agencies are required to publish interim final rules by July 1, 2016 and allow public comment for 45 days.  Many of different agency penalties have not been adjusted since 1990. The new penalties will only be applicable to penalties assessed after August 1, 2016 for violation that occurred after November 2, 2015.  To learn more, read the Fact Sheet, Interim Final Rule, and the Frequently Asked Questions on the Department of Labor’s website....

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The Art of Persuasion

The United State Department of Labor (USDOL) Office of Labor-Management Standards (OLMS) has released its revised interpretation of the rule that seeks to level the playing field between unions and employers. The new interpretation of the rule, which will take effect on April 25, 2016, will require that employers who hire consultants or labor attorneys to counsel them during union organizing campaigns report if they will undertake “persuader” activities and the cost of those services. These “persuader” activities are defined as “actions, conduct, or communications that are undertaken with an object, explicitly or implicitly, directly or indirectly, to affect an employee’s decisions regarding his or her representation or collective bargaining rights.” The intent is to make sure that employees can know the source of some of the information provided directly or indirectly to them during the organizing campaign. Read a summary of the impact of this rule.

Upcoming Changes to the FLSA

Updated October 7, 2015 | By Scott Moore, JD, of EMS Resource Advisors On March 13, 2014 President Obama sent a memorandum to the Secretary of Labor to update and modernize the Overtime Regulations found in the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).  The FLSA provides basic rights and wage protections to American workers, including Federal minimum wage and overtime requirements.  Specifically, the memorandum stated that “regulations regarding exemptions from the Act’s overtime requirement, particularly for executive, administrative, and professional employees (often referred to as “white collar” exemptions) have not kept up with our modern economy. Because these regulations are outdated, millions of Americans lack the protections of overtime and even the right to the minimum wage.”[i] On July 6, 2015 the Department of Labor (DOL) posted a Notice of Proposed Rule Making (NPRM) outlining their proposed changes to the Overtime Regulations.  The NPRM gave lawyers, employers, and interest groups 60 days (until September 4, 2015) to comment on these proposed changes.  The NPRM makes it clear that many employers will need to begin preparing now for likely changes to who receives overtime pay expected sometime in 2016. The changes proposed by the Department of Labor to the FLSA are expected...

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