May News Updates

Here are my news updates for the month of May.  To receive all the latest payroll news right to your inbox subscribe to Payroll 24/7 for only $149 per year.

 

May 27:  Office of Child Support Enforcement: The OCSE has added an interactive map for new hiring reporting on a new webpage.  The user may click on any state and be directed to the new hire reporting website.

May 24: Colorado: The Department of Labor and Employment (DLE) has issued guidance regarding its new state-run Paid Family and Medical Leave Insurance (FAMLI) program.

May 18: Milpitas, CA: The city will increase its minimum wage to $16.40 per hour effective July 1, 2022

May 5:  New York: The New York City Council has pushed back implementation of the salary transparency law from May 15, 2022, to November 1, 2022.

 

Daily News Updates for April

Here are our news updates for April.  I post one news item per update to our subscribers here on the blog. To receive all of the day’s payroll news updates, subscribe to Payroll 24/7 for only $149 per year.

 

 

 

April 29, 2022: The IRS has issued the following in draft form:

April 20, 2022:  The IRS has released the draft of the Form 941 for the second quarter of 2022. Major changes include marking most COVID19 related lines as “reserved for future use”. The forms 941-SS and 941 PR have also been released draft

April 5, 2022: The Office of Child Support Enforcement has created the electronic version of the National Medical Support Notice.  Known as e-NMSN it is modeled after the highly successful e-IWO process.  Information on this new system can be found on the OCSE website.  Currently Virginia is the only state using this new system.

 

Tip Work Yes or No?

On October 28, 2021, the U.S Department of Labor announced publication of the Tips Dual Jobs final rule that sets reasonable limits on the amount time an employer can take a tip credit when a tipped worker isn’t doing tip producing work. It clarifies that an employer may take a tip credit only when an employee is performing work that is part of a tipped occupation, specifically; performing work that is tip producing or performing work that directly supports work that is tip producing for a limited amount of time.

The Final Rule also amends the provisions of the Executive Order 13658 regulations, which address the hourly minimum wage paid by contractors to workers performing work on or in connection with covered federal contracts consistent with the amendments to the dual jobs regulations.

Under the final rule, an employer can take a tip credit only when the worker is performing tip producing work or when:

  • A tipped employee performs work that directly supports tip producing work for less than 20 percent of the hours worked during the employee’s workweek. Therefore, an employer cannot take a tip credit for any of the time that exceeds 20 percent of the workweek. Time for which an employer does not take a tip credit is excluded in calculating the 20 percent tolerance.
  • A tipped employee performs directly supporting work for not more than  30 minutes. Therefore, an employer cannot take a tip credit for any of the time that exceeds 30 minutes.

The final rule becomes effective December 28, 2021.  See the Department of Labor website for more information.

 

Rescission of Joint Employer Status Under the Fair Labor Standards Act Rule Is Now Effective…Tomorrow

The U.S. Department of Labor announced, on September 20, 2021, the extension of the effective date of a final rule to rescind an earlier rule, “Joint Employer Status under the Fair Labor Standards Act,” that took effect in March 2020. The original Sept. 28, 2021, effective date of the rescission is now Oct. 5, 2021.

On March 12, 2021, the department issued a notice of proposed rulemaking proposing to rescind the March 2020 Joint Employer Rule. After reviewing the comments submitted in response to the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, the department decided to finalize the rescission of the rule. The department believes that the rule narrowed the test for vertical joint employment improperly and conflicted with decades of department interpretation, the text of the Fair Labor Standards Act, and congressional intent.

The rescission will result in the removal and reserving of part 791 of Title 29 of the Code of Federal Regulations in its entirety. The department will continue to consider legal and policy issues relating to FLSA joint employment before determining whether alternative regulatory or sub-regulatory guidance is appropriate.

The FLSA requires covered employers to pay employees at least the federal minimum wage for every hour they work and overtime compensation at not less than one-and-one-half times their regular rate of pay for every hour they work over 40 in a workweek. A strong joint employer standard is critical because FLSA responsibilities and liability for worker protections do not apply to a business that is not the employee’s employer.

 

Taking Employees Tips? Not So Fast Says the DOL!

The U.S. Department of labor has announced a final rule that restores the department’s ability to assess civil money penalties against employers who take tips earned by their employees. The rules apply regardless if the violations are willful or not.  The ruling also clarifies specific occasion when a manager or a supervisor can keep tips.  The news release, issued on September 23, 2021 is as follows:

The U.S. Department of Labor today announced a final rule that restores the department’s ability to assess civil money penalties against employers who take tips earned by their employees, regardless of whether those violations are repeated or willful. In addition, today’s rule modifies the department’s broader civil money penalties regulations addressing when a violation is willful, further aligning these regulations with applicable precedent and how the department litigates willfulness. The rule also allows managers and supervisors to contribute to valid tip pooling arrangements, without receiving tips from those pools.

“Workers who depend on tipped wages are every bit as entitled to expect to keep what they’ve earned as other workers,” said U.S. Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh. “An employer who withholds workers’ tips in violation of the law deprives them of that security and, in some cases, leads to workers earning less than the federal minimum wage. This final rule helps us protect their earnings by strengthening tools to hold employers legally responsible for those violations.”

With this rule’s publication, the department withdraws the civil money penalties’ provisions in the 2020 Tip final rule that would have allowed the department to assess these penalties for violations only when employers kept employees’ tips and the department found their violations to be repeated or willful. The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2018 allows the department to impose civil money penalties to $1,100 when employers keep employees’ tips – in violation of the law – regardless of whether violations are repeated or willful.

The final rule also clarifies that – while managers and supervisors may not receive tips from mandatory tip pools or tip-sharing arrangements – managers or supervisors may contribute to mandatory tip pools or sharing arrangements. In addition, the rule clarifies that a manager or supervisor may keep tips only when the manager or supervisor receives tips from customers directly for service a manager or supervisor directly and “solely” provides.

“The final rule announced today strengthens protections for tipped workers – who are largely women, immigrants and people of color – and advances equity in the workplace,” said Wage and Hour Division Acting Administrator Jessica Looman. “Civil money penalties are an incentive for employers to comply with their legal responsibilities. When they do comply, essential workers benefit. When employers don’t comply, these penalties are a useful enforcement tool we can use to help achieve compliance.”

The Fair Labor Standards Act allows employers with tipped workers to pay as little as $2.13 per hour in direct wages, while taking a credit against the tips earned by the employee to make up the balance of the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour.

 

Wage and Hour Wednesday: DOL Withdraws Trump “Independent Contractor” Rule

Our blog for Wage and Hour Wednesday deals with the Biden administration withdrawing the Independent contractor rule set into motion during the last days of the Trump administration.

In the press released issued this morning:

The U.S. Department of Labor today announced the withdrawal – effective May 6 – of the “Independent Contractor Rule,” to protect workers’ rights to the minimum wage and overtime compensation protections of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The Department is withdrawing the rule for several reasons, including:

  • The independent contractor rule was in tension with the FLSA’s text and purpose, as well as relevant judicial precedent.
  • The rule’s prioritization of two “core factors” for determining employee status under the FLSA would have undermined the longstanding balancing approach of the economic realities test and court decisions requiring a review of the totality of the circumstances related to the employment relationship.
  • The rule would have narrowed the facts and considerations comprising the analysis whether a worker is an employee or an independent contractor, resulting in workers losing FLSA protections.

Withdrawing the independent contractor rule will help preserve essential workers’ rights. The FLSA includes provisions that require covered employers to pay employees at least the federal minimum wage for every hour they work and overtime compensation at not less than one-and-one-half times their regular rate of pay for every hour over 40 in a workweek. FLSA protections do not apply to independent contractors.

In addition to preserving access to the FLSA’s wage and hour protections, the department anticipates that withdrawing the independent contractor rule will also avoid other disruptive economic effects that would have been harmful to workers had the rule gone into effect.

For more information about the FLSA or other laws enforced by the Wage and Hour Division, visit https://www.dol.gov/agencies/whd, or call toll-free 1-866-4US-WAGE.

 

Let the Podcasts Begin

Recently I was asked to do my first podcast ever.  Outgrowth a Slice of Pro Beauty Podcast, a group that caters to beauty salon owners and workers, asked me to come on the podcast to discuss the payroll pitfalls when working in or running a salon.  The discuss is in two parts and covers misclassifying workers and the resulting legal ramifications in addition to a whole range of payroll areas that can cause compliance problems. Though generally geared to the beauty salon business, my discussion would be useful to anyone who needs to worry about compliance issues.

I hope you find it useful and informative.

 

 

Be sure to register for our first payroll lecture/webinar of the year.  The topic is the 2021 Form 941 and is being held on Wednesday, March 24th starting at 10:00 am Pacific.  Click here for more details and to register.  Use coupon code CJYFRQA6 at check out to receive a 10% discount as a Payroll 24/7 BLOG FOLLOWER.  The webinar is pending approval by the APA for 1.5 RCHs.

 

DOL: Change of Administrations…Change of Opinions

The U.S. Department of Labor announced plans on March 11, 2021 to rescind two final rules that would significantly weaken protections afforded to American workers under the Fair Labor Standards Act.

The first Notice of Proposed Rulemaking proposes the withdrawal of the Independent Contractor Final Rule issued by the department on issued on Jan. 7, 2021, for several reasons. They include the following:

  • The rule adopted a new “economic reality” test to determine whether a worker is an employee or an independent contractor under the FLSA.
  • Courts and the department have not used the new economic reality test, and FLSA text or longstanding case law does not support the test.
  • The rule would narrow or minimize other factors considered by courts traditionally; making the economic test less likely to establish that a worker is an employee under the FLSA.

Among its provisions, the FLSA requires covered employers to pay employees at least the federal minimum wage for every hour worked and overtime premium pay of at least one and one-half times their regular rate of pay for every hour worked over 40 in a workweek. An independent contractor has no FLSA protections.

The second Notice of Proposed Rulemaking seeks to rescind a current regulation on joint employer relationships under the Fair Labor Standards Act, published in the Federal Register and which took effect on March 16, 2020. In February 2020, 17 states and the District of Columbia filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York against the department, arguing that the Joint Employer Rule violated the Administrative Procedure Act. The court vacated the majority of the Joint Employer Rule on Sept. 8, 2020, stating that the rule was contrary to the FLSA and was “arbitrary and capricious” due to its failure to explain why the department had deviated from all prior guidance or consider the effect of the rule on workers.

The department invites comments from the public on both proposed rules at www.regulations.gov. The comment periods end on April 12, 2021.

Anyone who submits a comment (including duplicate comments) should understand and expect that the comment, including any personal information provided, will become a matter of public record. The division will post comments without change at www.regulations.gov and include any personal information provided. The division posts comments gathered and submitted by a third-party organization as a group, using a single document ID number at the site.

More information about the proposed rules is available at https://www.dol.gov/agencies/whd/flsa/2021-independent-contractor and at https://www.dol.gov/agencies/whd/flsa/2020-joint-employment.

 

Register for my first lecture of 2021.  I am starting with the 2021 Form 941 on Wednesday, March 24th at 10:00 am Pacific.  Use coupon code CJYFRQA6 at checkout to receive a 10% discount.

Department of Labor Roadshow Webinars Are Coming Your Way

The U.S. Department of Labor will host four webinars in June and July to discuss how the Department is helping workers and employers by reducing regulatory burdens and making it easier to understand and comply with the law. The webinars will also provide an opportunity for workers, employers, and state and local governments to ask questions and discuss how the Department can expand and improve access to its compliance assistance materials.

All events will include U.S. Department of Labor Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy Jonathan Wolfson.

The webinars will be hosted by the Department’s Office of the Assistant Secretary for Policy and its Office of Compliance Initiatives. Attendance is free, but attendees must pre-register online. If you have questions, please contact Marisela Douglass at douglass.marisela@dol.gov.

The four webinars are:

Agriculture

Guest Speaker: Wage and Hour Division Administrator Cheryl Stanton

Tuesday, June 23, 2020, 1:00 p.m. to 2:15 p.m. EDT

Register at: Compliance Assistance Webinar 1

 

Manufacturing and Construction

Guest Speaker: Occupational Safety and Health Administration Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary Loren Sweatt

Thursday, June 25, 2020, 1:00 p.m. to 2:15 p.m. EDT

Register at: Compliance Assistance Webinar 2

 

Food Service, Hospitality, and Retail

Guest Speaker: Employment and Training Administration Deputy Assistant Secretary Amy Simon

Tuesday, June 30, 2020, 1:00 p.m. to 2:15 p.m. EDT

Register at: Compliance Assistance Webinar 3

 

Health Care and Emergency Responders

Guest Speaker: Employee Benefits Security Administration Acting Assistant Secretary Jeanne Klinefelter Wilson

Wednesday, July 1, 2020, 1:00 p.m. to 2:15 p.m. EDT

Register at: Compliance Assistance Webinar 4

Opining on Regular Rate of Pay

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has issued three new opinion letters that address compliance issues related to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).  As a reminder to my readers, an opinion letter is an official, written opinion by the DOL’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD) on how a particular law applies in specific circumstances presented by the employer that requested the letter.  The current group of letters issued include:

 

FLSA2020-3: Addresses excludability of longevity payments from the regular rate of pay. This opinion rules that longevity payments made to employees that clearly “must or shall” be paid cannot be excluded and must be used to calculate the regular rate of pay.  However, if the longevity payment is worded as that it may or may not be awarded, up to the discretion of the employer, then it would not need to be included in the calculation for regular rate of pay.

FLSA2020-4: Addresses excludability of referral bonuses from the regular rate of pay. The employer is offering a referral bonus to employees not involved in recruiting or human resources and would be issued in two parts, one immediately and one if the employee is still employed after a year and so is the employee who was referred.  The opinion states that the first portion of the bonus would not be included in the regular rate of pay calculations as it is not remuneration for employment as it is a voluntary program.  However, the second installment of the bonus would be included as it would be considered the same as a longevity bonus. If the employee received the bonus whether they were still employed or not, it would not be includable.

FLSA2020-5: Addresses excludability of an employer’s contributions to a group-term life insurance policy from the regular rate of pay.  In essence, the opinion states that just because a wage paid is subject to federal taxes under the Internal Revenue Code, does not make the same payment includable in the regular rate of pay.

For more information on opinion letters, see the WHD website.