Legal Updates

SEBI Introduces Amendments related to Appointment of Independent Directors and other Regulations

The Securities and Exchange Board of India (“SEBI”) has issued a press release1 (PR No. 22/2021) dated June 29, 2021 pursuant to its recent meeting held on June 29, 2021. Some of the key decisions impacting various regulations are as under:

  1. Review and Merger of SEBI (Issue and Listing of Debt Securities) Regulations, 2008 and SEBI (Non-Convertible Redeemable Preference Shares) Regulations, 2013 into a single Regulation – SEBI (Issue and Listing of Non-Convertible Securities) Regulations, 2021. The provision of charge on the assets and properties of the issuer has been harmonized with the Companies Act. This will provide greater flexibility to the issuers for creation of charge.  
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Video: Mandatory Vaccination, Tipped Worker Rule, and SCOTUS Rules Against Organized Labor – Employment Law This Week

As featured in #WorkforceWednesday:  This week, we look at the increase in mandatory vaccination policies, a new rule for tipped workers, and a Supreme Court decision against organized labor.

Employers Implement Mandatory Vaccination Policies

Mandatory vaccine policies are on the rise. A month after the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission released updated guidance on mandatory vaccination policies, an increasing number of employers have started introducing these mandates. Courts are also weighing in—a Texas District Court recently affirmed a hospital’s mandatory vaccination policy.

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Ohio launches $155 million in grants to Ohio businesses

The state of Ohio will begin accepting applications on Tuesday, June 29 for four grant programs that target businesses that have suffered significant losses during the COVID-19 pandemic.  The small grant programs will provide a total of $155 million to businesses that opened in 2020, food and beverage establishments, entertainment venues, and lodging venues.  Read more…

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California Court of Appeal Approves Use of Rate-In-Effect Overtime Calculation Method Where It Benefited Employees

California law generally requires that non-exempt employees be paid 1.5 times their “regular rate of pay” for work performed beyond 40 hours in a week or 8 hours in a day – and twice their “regular rate of pay” for time worked in excess of 12 hours in day or beyond 8 hours on the seventh day of the workweek.

While “regular rate of pay” is not expressly defined in the California Labor Code, there should be few questions about what that rate is when an employee works at the same rate during the workweek.

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Hawaii Repeals “Disability Subminimum Wage”

On June 16, 2021, Hawaii enacted Senate Bill 793 (the “Act”), which repeals an exemption to the minimum wage for disabled employees, often referred to as “the disability subminimum wage.” The Act took effect immediately and requires all Hawaii employers pay disabled individuals no less than the state minimum wage.

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New Caselaw Sheds Light on Enforceability of No-Hire Agreements Between Companies

Recent decisions signal that courts will carefully scrutinize “no-hire” and “no-poaching” agreements between companies, and that the enforceability of such agreements is not guaranteed. These agreements provide that one party will not hire — or poach — the employees of the other party to the agreement.

In Lodging Sols, LLC v. Miller (Lodging Sols), the Southern District of New York refused to enforce a no-hire provision entered into in connection with a potential corporate transaction. Similarly, in Pittsburgh Logistics Systems, Inc. v. Beemac Trucking, LLC, et al. (Pittsburgh Logistics Systems), the Pennsylvania Supreme Court refused to enforce a no-hire provision entered into in connection with a services agreement. Read more…

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District of Columbia Increases Minimum Wage to $15.20, and Tipped Minimum Wage to $5.05, Effective July 1, 2021

As we previously reported, starting in 2016 the District of Columbia by statute gradually increased its minimum wage to $15.00 per hour, and its tipped minimum to $5.00, effective July 1, 2020. However, included in the statute were provisions for subsequent increases of both these rates based on the annual average increase in the Consumer Price Index for All Urban consumers in the Washington Metropolitan Statistical Area. See D.C. Code §32-1003(a)(6) and (f)(2).  The D.C. Department of Employment Services (DOES) recently announced that pursuant to these provisions, effective July 1, 2021 the minimum wage for all employees will increase to $15.20 per hour, and the tipped minimum to $5.05. The same rate applied to the Living Wage Act covering various government contractors.

D.C. employers should make sure that their payroll systems are adjusted to reflect these new rates. They should also post the updated DOES poster available here.

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MENTAL HEALTH AND STRESS IN THE WORKPLACE

Research has consistently shown that employee stress levels have risen in line with the demands of the twenty-first century workplace.

The CIPD publish a survey on health and wellbeing at work, and reported in 2019 that mental ill health was increasingly prevalent as a cause of both short and long-term illness and remained one of the most common causes of long-term absence. They also reported a rising culture of presenteeism (people coming to work when unwell) which is harmful and which could be masking more deep-seated organisational issues that could be undermining health and wellbeing at work, such as unmanageable workloads (identified as by far the greatest cause of stress). The report noted that while employers can introduce exemplary wellbeing policies and make serious investment in employee health, these would not have a real impact unless people were managed well, with there being a supportive and inclusive culture and committed leadership. Unsurprisingly, the 2021 report found that the Covid-19 pandemic was a significant additional cause of stress and employers were reporting increasing concern for employee wellbeing as a result, although the report also indicated this has resulted in employers taking more steps to support employee health and wellbeing. Read more…

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Back to the Future: The U.S. Department of Labor Proposes New Tip Credit Rule Reinstating Old Standard

On June 21, 2021, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) announced a new proposed rule related to when an employer may take a tip credit and pay a lower minimum wage to tipped employees performing so-called tipped and non-tipped duties.  The proposed rule appeared in the Federal Register on June 23, 2021 and is open for public comment until August 23, 2021.  The proposal shows employers the new road that President’s Biden’s administration is paving, which is a sharp turn away from the Trump administration’s approach.

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Fertility Treatments and Gestational Surrogacy: the IRS Reaffirms Narrow View of “Medical Expenses” under Section 213

As employers are expanding their fertility, surrogacy, and family planning benefits, the tax treatment of such benefits continues to be a challenge for employers and their employees by both increasing the cost of these benefits and creating administrative hurdles. In a private letter ruling, the IRS maintains its position that the majority of the medical costs and fees incurred by a same-sex couple seeking to have a child through gestational surrogacy are not deductible “medical expenses” under Section 213 of the Internal Revenue Code. On January 12, 2021, the IRS issued Private Letter Ruling 202114001 (the “Ruling”) in response to a male couple’s request for a ruling that would allow a deduction for costs and fees related to:

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