On Wednesday, March 18th, the President signed into law the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCR). The FFCR applies to all employers with 500 or fewer employees and contains three primary sections related to employers: Emergency Family and Medical Leave Act Expansion; Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act; and Tax Credits for Paid Sick and Paid Family and Medical Leave. The FFCR is slated to take effect April 2, 2020 and will expire on December 31, 2020.Continue reading “COVID-19: Family and Medical Leave Legislation”
2019 was a busy year for the Illinois legislature with respect to state employment law changes. Below is a summary of the most important pieces of legislation affecting employers in 2020:
Amendments to the Equal Pay Act of 2003
Made effective on September 29, 2019, the intent of the legislation is to address pay disparity between men and women. As amended, the Equal Pay Act prevents employers from:
- Requesting or requiring that an applicant disclose wage or salary history as a condition of employment;
- Requesting or requiring a wage or salary history as a condition of being considered for employment, as a condition of being interviewed, as a condition of an offer of employment, or as a condition of an offer of employment or an offer of compensation;
- Screening job applicants based on their current or prior wages or salary histories, including benefits or other compensation, by requiring that the wage or salary history of an applicant satisfy minimum or maximum criteria; or
- Seeking the wage or salary history, including benefits or other compensation, of a job applicant from any current or former employer.
The Department of Labor (DOL) finalized its proposed rules for overtime eligibility. As some may recall, the DOL attempted to issue new overtime rules back in 2015, but those overtime rules were enjoined by a federal district court in 2016. Below is a summary of the final 2019 overtime rules:Continue reading “New Proposed Fair Labor Standards Act Overtime Rules”
Navigating the Possibility of Incurring UBTI
UPDATE: The Taxpayer Certainty and Disaster Tax Relief Act of 2019 retroactively repealed the tax on employee parking benefits for nonprofit employers by striking paragraph 512(a)(7) from the Internal Revenue Code. An organization that paid the tax may be eligible for a refund. To claim a refund, the organization needs to file an amended 990-T, as further explained by the IRS here.
Nonprofit organizations that provide employee parking benefits may be surprised to learn that they may be subject to incur unrelated business taxable income (UBTI). In addition, organizations with no UBTI may now be required to file form 990-T.
The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (Act) amended Section 274 of the Internal Revenue Code (IRC) to disallow for-profit employers from deducting certain expenses related to transportation fringe benefits provided to their employees. The Act added IRC Section 512(a)(7) to what constitutes UBTI for nonprofits and other tax-exempt entities. The Act states that tax-exempt entities are required to increase their UBTI by expenses related to transportation fringe benefits provided to their employees. The transportation fringe benefits subject to this tax include expenses associated with:
President Trump Sued for Unpaid Overtime
In July 2018, President Donald Trump learned the danger of disregarding employment law when he was sued by his long-time, personal chauffeur for unpaid overtime. In this case, Trump did not abide by state and federal wage and hour rules.
Reportedly, chauffeur Noel Cintron was “forced to work thousands of hours of overtime without compensation,”1 anywhere from 50-55 hours per week. He would begin at 7:00 a.m., five days a week, and stay until Trump, his family, or business associates no longer needed Cintron’s services. Continue reading “Law Suit Shows the Danger of Disregarded Employment Law”
“Mark of the Beast”: Fourth Circuit Upholds Judgment That Employer Failed to Accommodate Employee’s Religious Beliefs
A recent Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals ruling highlights an employer’s mistakes when refusing an employee’s request for a religious accommodation. The case, EEOC v. Consol Energy, Inc., upheld the lower court’s judgment against Consol that it failed to accommodate an employee’s religious objection to participate in the employer’s mandated biometric hand scanner system. The Fourth Circuit also upheld the district court’s damages award to the employee of almost $600,000.
On June 7, 2017, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) announced that it was withdrawing the Obama-era DOL 2015 and 2016 informal guidance memorandums on independent contractors and joint employment also referred to as joint employer. These memorandums were “Administrator’s Interpretations” meant to provide guidance as to how the law and related regulations with respect to independent contractors and joint employment should be interpreted and applied to employers.
Continue reading “Update: U.S. Department of Labor Withdraws Guidance on Independent Contractors and Joint Employment”
On November 22, 2016, the Federal Eastern District Court of Texas granted an emergency motion for a preliminary injunction to prevent the Department of Labor (DOL) from enforcing the new Federal Labor Standards Act’s (FLSA) overtime rules set to take effect on December 1, 2016. Since the district court ruling enjoined the implementation of the overtime rules nationwide, employers do not have to comply with the proposed overtime rules that would have doubled the minimum salary requirements for the so-called “white collar” exemption to required overtime pay.
Employers should be aware, however, that the ruling was a preliminary injunction. It will only remain in effect until the merits of the case are resolved by the federal District Court, Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, or the U.S. Supreme Court. Continue reading “Federal Emergency Motion Blocks Enforcement of FLSA’s New Overtime Rules”
Is your organization classifying its independent contractors correctly?
The misclassification of independent contractors as employees continues to remain at the forefront of the enforcement agendas for both the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the Department of Labor (DOL). In addition, as of this writing, 37 states have entered into formal memoranda of understanding with the DOL to jointly pursue worker misclassification. Many employers, both small and large, continue to struggle with how to properly classify their workers. The potential costs to an employer who misclassifies an employee as an independent contractor can be significant. For example, if an employer issues Form-1099 to a worker considered to be an independent contractor who is later determined to be an employee by the DOL, the employer may be required to pay back-wages, liquidated damages and attorney’s fees. He may also be liable to the IRS and Social Security Administration for unpaid taxes and other penalties. Continue reading “Keeping Tabs on Independent Contractors”
Two important Illinois employment laws take effect on January 1, 2017: the Illinois Sick Leave Act and the Illinois Freedom to Work Act.
The Illinois Sick Leave Act
The Illinois Sick Leave Act, which does not require employers to provide personal sick leave, applies only to employers who provide personal sick leave benefits to their employees. The Act does not compel any employer to adopt personal sick leave benefits, even if that employer does not already have personal sick leave benefits in place. Continue reading “Illinois Employment Law Short Takes”