Tag Archives: Department of Labor

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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Department of Labor’s EBSA Proposes Extension to Align Applicability Dates for Retirement Plan Fee Disclosures

Last year, two significant sets of regulations were issued that will affect qualified plan fiduciary responsibility and administration.  Last July, interim final regulations were issued requiring retirement plan service providers to disclose detailed information regarding their fees and potential conflicts of interest to plan fiduciaries.  These service provider disclosures were scheduled to apply to plan contracts and arrangements for services on or after July 16, 2011.  Since those regulations were issued, there has been much discussion surrounding compliance with these rules, including whether a summary format of information might be necessary to help plan sponsors understand and know what to do with the financial information that will be disclosed by plan service providers.  The Department then announced earlier this year that it would extend the compliance deadline to January 1, 2012, but this wasn’t yet official.  In addition, participant-level fee disclosure regulations were issued on October 20, 2010 to be effective for plan years on or after November 1, 2011 with a 60-day transition period.  These rules would require plan administrator’s of 401(k) plans, for example,  to disclose certain plan and fee information to participants who direct their investments.  On June 1, 2011, the Department proposed making the January 1, 2012 extension of the service provider disclosures compliance date official, as well as extending the time a calendar year 401k plan has to furnish the initial participant-level fee disclosures to no later than April 30, 2012 (and up to May 15, 2012 with regard to quarterly statements) in order to provided additional time for compliance and coordination of the two efforts. 

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Department of Labor To Use Smartphone Technology In Its Enforcement Activities

By: Betsy Johnson

Under the Obama administration, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has implemented a number of initiatives in support of its enforcement of federal wage and hour laws and its mission of making employers more accountable for compliance with these laws.  These include the “We Can Help” and “Bridge to Justice” initiatives.

The DOL has now announced that it is launching a free application for smartphones.  This new “app” provides non-exempt employees with an electronic “timesheet” that allows them to independently track the hours they work and determine the amount of wages owed. The new application is available in both English and Spanish, and it allows users to track regular work hours, break time and overtime hours for themselves and/or co-workers.  The DOL intends to explore other applications that would allow employees to independently track tips, commissions, bonuses, deductions, holiday pay, pay for weekends, shift differentials and pay for regular days of rest.

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HEALTH REFORM: Meeting the Requirements for Defining the "Essential Health Benefits Package": DOL Publishes Survey of Employer-Sponsored Coverage

On April 15, 2011, the U.S. Department of Labor (“DOL”) released a survey report that is being used to satisfy a requirement in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (“ACA”) that the Secretary of Labor “conduct a survey of employer-sponsored coverage” as a condition precedent to the development of the “essential health benefits package” by the Secretary of Health and Human Services (“HHS”).[1] This DOL survey is the first step in the process laid out in the federal health reform law for establishing the minimum benefits package to be offered in the various health insurance exchanges for which subsidies and tax credits will be available. Under ACA, the Secretary of HHS ultimately has the discretion to determine the “essential health benefits package,” which goes to the heart of federal health reform by providing an adequate level of health insurance coverage to the uninsured and underinsured. That discretion is limited by certain conditions and requirements set forth in ACA.

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Don’t Forget the Tip! DOL issues new regulations for tipped employees

Not even the United States Department of Labor (DOL) forgets the tip. On April 5, 2011, the DOL amended the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) regulations for tipped employees. The regulations require employers with tipped employees to take action before the regulations take effect on May 5, 2011. Here are a few “tips” for employers regarding the new regulations:

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Department of Labor Seeks Bigger Budget to Increase Wage and Hour Enforcement Efforts

by Kara Maciel

Once again, the U.S. Department of Labor is requesting additional funding from Congress in its 2012 budget proposal to increase its efforts toward regulation and enforcement of wage and hour and employment laws. While the DOL’s budget proposal would reduce its overall discretionary spending by 5%, the budget cuts will not affect the staff and resources that enforce wage and hour laws. Instead, the Wage and Hour Division is asking for $241 million – an increase of $13.3 million from last year’s estimated budget.

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New York State Department of Labor Issues Opinion Letter on Internships

EBG colleague Susan Gross Sholinsky recently prepared an Act Now Advisory discussing New York State’s December 21, 2010 opinion letter regarding whether an internship will qualify for an exception to applicable minimum wage rules. The New York State Department of Labor utilizes the United States Department of Labor’s six-step test, but adds an additional five factors to determine whether the internship will be exempt from minimum wage rules. In order to qualify for the exemption, the following eleven factors must be satisfied:

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U.S. Department of Labor to Refer Employees to Plaintiffs’ Lawyers

by Michael Kun and Doug Weiner

It is no secret that employers have been beseiged by wage-hour litigation, including wage-hour class actions and collective actions.  It is also no secret that the persons who benefit most from these actions are often plaintiffs’ counsel, who frequently receive one-third or more of any recovery.  Now, as a result of an unprecedented new program initiated by the the Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (“WHD”), the WHD will be practically delivering potential plaintiffs to the doors of plaintiffs’ counsel — and the WHD has invited plaintiffs’ counsel to let it know if it wants a piece of the action. 

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Getting Paid for Getting Dressed

The U.S. Department of Labor recently issued a new interpretation of donning and doffing requirements under the Fair Labor Standards Act, bringing the Department’s interpretation in line with recent court decisions. The issue is whether employees should be paid for putting on and taking off clothing before and after work.

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Untangling the Maze of Disability Laws

The U.S. Department of Labor recently released an online guide to help employers determine which federal disability laws apply to their businesses or organizations.  Called the elaws Disability Nondiscrimination Advisor, it is a series of online questions to direct the user to the appropriate laws and to provide guidance on how they are implemented.  It […]

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