Our Labour and Employment Law Group Welcomes Dimka Markova

June 28, 2021 — RSS is pleased to have Dimka Markova join its Labour and Employment Law Group as of today. After gaining experience with several legal fields of expertise, she can now focus on a discipline that she found most appealing.

“Dimka’s profile suits exactly what we were looking for in a recruit”, says Jean Denis Boucher, who heads the group. “We’ve known her for several years and wanted to add her to the team. Thanks to her substantial qualities, she will be a valuable resource for our clients.”

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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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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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López-Ibor Abogados Named by IFLR as one of the Best Firms in Spain for Banking & Finance

The IFLR1000 International Directory once again highlights López-Ibor Abogados  as one of the best firms in the area of Banking & Finance.

Congratulations team!

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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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Illinois Attorney General’s Office on the Lookout for Unlawful No-Poach Agreements

In January of this year, our colleagues Janene Marasciullo and David Clark wrote about federal criminal indictments issued for naked wage-fixing and no-poach agreements. They warned that these federal indictments should serve as a cautionary tale for HR and other company executives. The Illinois Attorney General’s office recently reinforced that warning at the state level.

An Illinois court recently denied a motion to dismiss an action by the Illinois Attorney General’s Office–Antitrust Unit against a manufacturing company and three staffing agencies alleging that the company helped the staffing agencies enter into “unlawful agreements…to refuse to solicit or hire each other’s employees and to fix the wages paid to their employees,” which are respectively known as “no-poach” and “wage-fixing” agreements. In particular, the Illinois AG’s complaint alleges that the manufacturing company essentially served as the enforcer of the agencies’ agreement not to poach each other’s temporary employees that they assigned to the company, and that on multiple occasions the staffing agencies complained to the company about each other “cheating” on their no poach agreement—prompting the company to admonish the “cheating” parties. Most interestingly, in an ionic illustration of the axiom that (alleged) crime does not pay, the complaint alleges that the company and the agencies continued to adhere to the terms of their no-poach and wage-fixing agreements despite an inability to attract temporary employees because of the low wages offered due to the alleged wage-fixing.

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Video: Evolving Pandemic Regulations, Overtime Rule Under Review, ACA Upheld – Employment Law This Week

As featured in #WorkforceWednesday:  This week, we focus on evolving pandemic regulations at both the federal and state levels.

The Evolution of Workplace Pandemic Regulations

Federal agencies and states across the country are adjusting or removing COVID-19-specific rules, while releasing new regulations that have a longer-term horizon meant to be a blueprint for the next phase of COVID-19 and future pandemics. Examples of this phenomenon include the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s release of its emergency temporary standard for health care and guidance for non-health care businesses as well as New York State’s enactment of the HERO Act and related amendments.

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Howard & Howard Welcomes New Intellectual Property Associate

ROYAL OAK, Mich., June 23, 2021 – Howard & Howard is pleased to welcome Daniel A. Balavitch. He began his career with Howard & Howard in 2016 as an intern in Howard & Howard’s Intellectual Property Intern Program. He will practice out of the firm’s Royal Oak, Michigan office.

“I add value to our clients through growth of global patent protection and defensive freedom-to-operate analyses.” –Daniel A. Balavitch

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Cal/OSHA Has Approved Revisions to the Emergency Temporary Standards Related to COVID-19 Which Are Now in Effect

As we previously reported, on June 9, 2021, the California Occupational Safety and Health (“Cal/OSHA”) Standards Board (“the Board”) withdrew its prior proposed revisions to the Division of Occupational Safety and Health’s (Cal/OSHA) COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standards (“ETS”), effectively returning to the original ETS approved in November 2020.  A week later, however, on June 17, 2021, the Board approved revisions to the ETS (“Revised ETS”) which, among other things, align with current guidance from the California Department of Public Health (“CDPH”) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”) with respect to physical distancing and the use of face coverings for vaccinated individuals.

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