The U.S. Senate passed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (“FFCRA”), and shortly after, President Donald Trump signed it into law. The Act will take effect no later than 15 days after its enactment. It will remain in effect until it expires under a sunset provision on December 31, 2020. This final version of the bill has some key differences from the one passed earlier in the U.S. House. But like the House bill, the final legislation does not apply to employers of 500 or more.

The FFCRA provides for expanded, paid FMLA as well as paid leave. Here are several key provisions that will have a significant impact on covered employers.


Continue Reading President Trump signs HR 6201, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, providing relief to some American workers

It has been a decade since the United States Department of Labor (DOL) made any changes to the FMLA regulations, but we now have an indication that the DOL is at least willing to consider issuing new regulations at some point in the next few years. The United States Office of Management and Budget announced

In many employment cases, the parties engage in a battle over content in the plaintiff’s private social media accounts. The recent decision from the U.S. District Court in Eastern District of Michigan in Robinson v. MGM Grand Detroit, LLC, Case No. 17-CV-13128 (E.D. Mich. 1/17/2019) illustrates well how an employer can demonstrate its right

The federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 contains an often-overlooked tax credit for employers that provide qualifying types of paid leave to their full- and part-time employees. The credit is available to any employer, regardless of size, if:

  • The employer provides at least 2 weeks of paid family and medical leave annually for employees who have been with the company for at least 12 months
  • The paid leave is at least 50 percent of the wages normally paid to the employee

The IRS has issued a set of frequently asked questions and a notice to help employers understand the tax credit, which is only available for wages paid in 2018 and 2019. The notice, entitled Notice 2018-71, is effective as of Sept. 24, 2018, and similarly only applies to wages paid in 2018 and 2019. Here are some of its highlights:
Continue Reading New tax credit rewards companies that offer paid FMLA leave in 2018 and 2019

On Tuesday, August 28, 2018, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD) announced the issuance of six new opinion letters covering a variety of issues under the FMLA and FLSA. Specifically, the opinion letters address the following issues:

  • “No-fault” attendance policies and roll-off of attendance points under the FMLA
  • Organ donors’ qualification for FMLA leave
  • Compensability of time spent voluntarily attending benefit fairs and certain wellness activities
  • Application of the commissioned sales employee overtime exemption to a company that sells an internet payment software platform
  • Application of the movie theater overtime exemption to a movie theater that also offers dining services
  • Volunteer status of nonprofit members serving as credentialing examination graders


Continue Reading U.S. Department of Labor issues new opinion letters covering FMLA and FLSA issues

As we previously reported in the post “The return of Department of Labor Opinion Letters,” the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) began issuing opinion letters again in mid-2017 after a six-plus-year hiatus. On April 12, 2018, the DOL issued an opinion letter, FLSA 2018-19, regarding when FMLA-mandated breaks for intermittent leave for an employee’s serious health condition are paid and when they are unpaid.

Continue Reading New DOL opinion letter may provide clarity as to when FMLA-mandated breaks are paid and when they are unpaid

A recent case highlights the intersection of FMLA and workers’ compensation laws. Angela Samuel (Samuel) was employed by Progressive Casualty Insurance Co. (Progressive) as a retention specialist and primarily worked out of her home. While on a leave of absence covered by the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), Progressive notified Samuel that she needed to submit documentation in support of her FMLA request. Previously, Samuel’s documents in support of her FMLA leave were either never received or misplaced by Progressive.

On a Sunday evening, Samuel hand-delivered the paperwork to an unattended reception desk outside of a human resources department at a building on Progressive’s campus. As she was leaving, she slipped in a stairway and fell onto her right side.


Continue Reading Sunday deliveries of FMLA paperwork: A recipe for disaster

The federal Department of Labor (DOL) has issued an updated poster for the “Employee Rights Under the Fair Labor Standards Act” poster, which is a federally required poster. The updated poster adds information on the rights of nursing mothers (to lactation breaks) under the FLSA, misclassification issues related to independent contractors and tip credits. In

What an interesting and challenging time to be a human resources professional. There are the day-to-day challenges such as dealing with management needs, trying to support employee morale, keeping an eye on policy enforcement, legal compliance and workplace investigations. The list goes on. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit recently added one more challenge. The Court held that a human resources professional can be held personally liable for her company’s FMLA violations.

The Culinary Institute of America questioned the validity of an employee’s medical support for FMLA time off. In the ensuing communication between company and employee, the company’s director of human resources maintained that the employee’s documentation was not sufficient. The company eventually established a deadline for submitting proper documentation and when the employee did not respond, terminated her for job abandonment.  The employee sued the company and the Director of Human Resources for alleged FMLA and Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) violations.
Continue Reading Director of human resources may be personally liable for FMLA violations

In prior posts (Are you a “joint employer” with your temporary staff supplier? The National Labor Relations Board says “Yes,” and ; NLRB poised to relax standard for establishing joint employment; may mean more union issues in franchising and temporary service worker deals ), we wrote about decisions by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) that expand the definition of joint employment and broaden potential liability for violations of the National Labor Relations Act. Last month, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) joined the NLRB in making joint employment an enforcement priority when it issued an Administrator’s Interpretation and a Fact Sheet relating to joint employment under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), as well as a Fact Sheet relating to joint employment under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA). Although the definition of joint employment under these acts has not changed, the DOL’s interpretation of the definition is expanding, and employers can expect that more of them will be subject to claims under the FLSA and FMLA in joint employment situations.

Continue Reading DOL joins NLRB in making joint employment an enforcement priority