Trump’s DOL Issued Wage and Hour Opinion Letters

On Thursday, April 12, 2018, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (“WHD”) released three new opinion letters. These are official, written opinions by WHD on “how a particular law applies in specific circumstances,” and they represent official statements of agency policy.

The opinion letters cover the following topics:

♦ What counts as work time under the FLSA when employees travel for work – linked here;

♦ Whether 15-minute rest breaks required every hour by an employee’s serious health condition must be paid or may be uncompensated – linked here; and

♦ Whether certain lump-sum payments from employers to employees are considered “earnings” for garnishment purposes under Title III of the Consumer Credit Protection Act – linked here.

We will dive further into some of these letters and what they mean for employers next week.

Senate Confirms John Ring to Fill Empty NLRB Seat

By a narrow 50-48 vote on Wednesday, April 11, 2018, the U.S. Senate confirmed John Ring, a former management-side attorney with Morgan Lewis & Bockius LLP, to fill the final vacancy on the National Labor Relations Board (“Board”). Ring’s confirmation brings the Board back to three Republican and two Democrat members.  With Ring’s appointment, we expect the Board to continue overturning several Obama-era decisions, similar to what occurred late last year before former Chairman Philip Miscimarra’s term expired.  We will be sure to provide updates on any relevant Board decisions.

ICE Raid at Tennessee Meatpacking Plant

Last week, U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”) agents arrested 97 immigrants at Southeastern Provision meatpacking plant in Tennessee. According to a statement by an ICE spokeswoman, ten people were arrested on federal immigration charges, one person was arrested on state charges, and 86 were detained for being in the country illegally. As we’ve reported before here and here, increased ICE activity and extra restrictions put in place by AB 450 have created a complex work environment for agricultural employers, particularly in California.

To listen to Senior Counsel Michael Saqui’s podcast on “What to Do When ICE Shows Up,” click here. To see a fact sheet on employer rights and responsibilities during workplace raids, including appendixes containing sample warrants and additional resources, see Legal Aid at Work’s document here (note that this document was published prior to the enactment of California’s AB 450 and does not include employer’s responsibilities under that law). To request copies of our updated cheat sheet on “What to Do When ICE Shows Up,” contact The Saqui Law Group.

DOL Published Videos on FLSA

At the end of March, the DOL’s WHD published five animated videos on core topics regarding compliance with the Fair Labor Standards Act, listed as follows:

1: Coverage – Does the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) apply to my business?

2: Minimum Wage – What minimum wage requirements apply to my business?

3: Deductions – Can I charge my employees for uniforms or other business expenses?

4: Hours Worked – Do I have to pay for that time?

5: Overtime – When do I owe overtime compensation, and how do I pay it correctly?

These videos are intended to serve as “brief, plain-language explanations of FLSA requirements” and to provide employers with “basic information they need to understand their obligations and to comply with the law.” The WHD also stated that additional FLSA-related videos will be posted soon, so if you are interested in keeping up with these simplified explanations of employer responsibilities under the FLSA, you can check their webpage for further updates here.

Cal/OSHA Heat Illness Protection Reminder

Today, California’s Department of Industrial Relations published a news release discussing the temperatures at outdoor worksites across California, reminding employers to plan for preventing heat illness in order to protect employees from heat-related illness and death. The news release includes links to California standards for heat illness prevention and injury illness prevention as well as several other resources for employers. You can find the full news release here.

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