Tag Archives: Department of Labor

Labor and Employment Alert: Wage and hour compliance necessary to avoid litigation commonplace in healthcare industry

In 2010, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) announced that it was launching a mass wage and hour probe of the broadly-defined “healthcare” industry. The “healthcare” industry was not, however, limited to large hospital systems or nursing homes. It includes independent physician practices, as well as home health agencies.

The DOL’s focus on the healthcare industry has steadily increased since 2010. The DOL filed a lawsuit in December 2011 against an Ohio-based home health services agency seeking more than $84,000 in back wages and liquidated damages for 10 workers due to employee misclassification. 

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2013 budget approves special funding for the DOL to “Detect and Deter” the misclassification of workers as independent contractors

Arnstein & Lehr attorney Lori Adelson

Lori Adelson

On February 13, 2012, President Obama announced The Fiscal Year 2013 Budget. Notably, the 2013 Budget once again includes special funding for the Department of Labor to “detect and deter” companies from misclassifying employees as independent contractors. Specifically, 14 million is budgeted for misclassification, including $10 million for grants to States to identify misclassification and recover unpaid taxes, and $4 million for DOL personnel to investigate misclassification.

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DOL issues notice of proposed rulemaking to amend FMLA regulations

Arnstein & Lehr attorney Lori Adelson

Lori Adelson

The U.S. Department of Labor has issued a notice of proposed rulemaking to implement recent statutory amendments to the Family Medical and Leave Act contained in the 2010 National Defense Authorization Act.

The proposed changes affect military servicemember leave and include new provisions for certain airline employees, who would otherwise be ineligible for leave. According to the DOL, the proposed regulations cover the following:

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U.S. DOL And California Team Up To Crack Down On Misclassification Of Workers As Independent Contractors

By Michael Kun

Last week, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division and the California Secretary of Labor announced that they were teaming up to crack down on employers who classify workers as independent contractors. 

The announcement that the two groups would work together on such an initiative should not come as much of a surprise to employers.  Shortly after Hilda Solis took office as the U.S. Secretary of Labor, the Wage and Hour Division announced that it would be focusing on this issue.  And California has enacted a new statute that provides additional penalties in cases where workers are found to have been misclassified as independent contractors.  Simply put, the classification of workers as independent contractors is today’s “hot issue.”

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The Department of Labor Issues Proposed Rule Expanding FLSA Coverage to Companionship and Live-In Workers

By: Dean Silverberg, Evan Spelfogel, Peter Panken, Douglas Weiner and Donald Krueger

Reversing its prior stance, the U.S. Department of Labor (“DOL”) proposes to extend the minimum wage and overtime requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) to domestic workers who provide in-home care services to the elderly and infirm. See Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to Amend the Companionship and Live-In Worker Regulations. In 1974, when domestic service workers were first included in FLSA coverage, the DOL published regulations that provided an exemption for such “companions”, whether employed directly by the families of the elderly and infirm, or by a third party employer/staffing agency. Now, heeding calls from organized labor and certain members of Congress, the DOL is moving to close this “loophole.” See“Is the Department of Labor Considering a Revision to the Domestic Service Exemption for Home Health Care Aides?” .

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U.S. Department of Labor Targets Hospitality Industry Through New iPhone/iPad Applications

By:  Casey Cosentino

There is an on-going trend by the U.S. Department of Labor (“DOL”) to leverage popular technology to increase public and consumer awareness of the laws and regulations it enforces. Indeed, the DOL is continually exploring creative ways to share information with the public using the fastest and most-wide reaching means available. Through technology, the DOL is intentionally providing employees and consumers with enforcement data about companies, particularly hotels and restaurants, so that they can make informed employment and patronage decisions. 

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Employee Benefits Alert: DOL new disclosure rules…

The Department of Labor (DOL) issued final regulations which require Plan Administrators to disclose certain plan and investment-related information to participants and beneficiaries in individual account plans, including fees and expenses.

In these new regulations, the DOL has interpreted a Plan Administrator’s fiduciary duty under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) to include:

  • Informing participants and beneficiaries on a regular and periodic basis of their rights and responsibilities with respect to investment of plan assets where they are able to direct that investment.
  • The information the Plan Administrator must provide should include information about the plan, the plan investments and fees and expenses so that the participants can make informed decisions.
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DOL Set to Share Employee Misclassification Information with the IRS and States

Arnstein & Lehr attorney E. Jason Tremblay

E. Jason Tremblay

In what appears to be another example of cracking down on the improper use of independent contractors, the U.S. Department of Labor (“DOL”) recently announced it is entering into agreements with the IRS, as well as some state agencies (including Illinois state agencies), to share information regarding employers who have improperly classified employees. The DOL maintains that these arrangements are necessary to share information and coordinate law enforcement with the participants to end the practice of misclassifying employees. However, it is clear that this collaboration has as much to do with enhancing the inflow of tax revenues as it does with protecting employees.

What this practically means for businesses is that if the DOL determines that an independent contractor is misclassified, it can share that determination and evidence with, for example, the Illinois Department of Employment Security or other state agencies, which could very well lead to additional investigations, fines, fees and liability upon the business beyond those by IDOL. In light of this, every company with a business model based, in whole or in part, upon the use of independent contractors should prepare itself for this new enforcement activity and immediately consult with an employment attorney to perform an audit of those workers.

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Labor and Employment Alert: More changes on the horizon? DOL proposes new Persuader Activities Rule

More changes on the horizon?

DOL proposes new Persuader Activities Rule

On June 21, 2011, the Department of Labor (DOL) issued a Proposed Rule, which seeks to drastically expand the “persuader rule” currently in place. To that end, this Proposed Rule is designed to limit the “advice exemption” to the persuader rule, as it is currently constituted. Because this is simply a Proposed Rule, interested parties can submit comments for 60 days before it is implemented.

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Wage & Hour Division Continues Enforcement Actions against Virginia Hotels

By:  Kara M. Maciel

The Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division in Norfolk, Virginia has announced that it will be stepping up its compliance audits and enforcement efforts against area hotels. In the past few years, the DOL stated it found violations at about 60% of local hotels. According to the DOL, the agency recently made spot checks at 10 area hotels since April. This is just one part of the agency’s nationwide enforcement program and its “Plan/Prevent/Protect” initiative against the hospitality industry. Common violations assessed by the DOL include:

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