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Larry Stine

DOL Launches Pilot Program Allowing Employers to Resolve Payroll Errors Without Fees or Penalties

On March 6, 2018, the Wage and Hour Division of the U.S. Department of Labor (WHD) announced a pilot program designed to expedite resolution of payroll errors.  Dubbed with the convenient acronym PAID, the Payroll Audit Independent Determination program will allow employers to correct inadvertent overtime and minimum wage violations without having to pay fees, fines, or liquidated damages. 

Under the PAID program, employees will receive 100 percent of the back wages owed.  Employers – and employees -- will be spared any litigation expenses, attorneys’ fees, or other costs that may be applicable to private actions. WHD will assess the amount of wages due and supervise payment to employees. No penalties or liquidated damages will be imposed on employers who participate in the PAID program, self-report errors to WHD, and agree to future compliance.  (The program is not open to employers currently being investigated or engaged in litigation.) 

WHD is implementing the pilot program nationwide for approximately six months, after which it will evaluate the results and decide whether to make it permanent.  Employers are encouraged to audit their compensation practices to identify and correct potential non-compliant practices. 

COMMENT:  PAID is an example of how DOL can be a compliance partner, not just an adversary to employers.  “Good faith” traditionally allowed employers to avoid liquidated damages where inadvertent errors were made.  The prospect of attorneys’ fees often makes FLSA cases an expensive “gotcha” for employers and an impediment to settlement:  PAID should help short-circuit the litigation lottery, getting employees made whole sooner without letting their attorneys get fat in the process.

More information concerning the pilot program is available at www.dol.gov/whd/paid

Questions?  Need more information? Contact Larry Stine (jls@wimlaw.com) or call 404-365-0900.

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FAQs on the Covid-19 Vaccine Executive Order

On September 9, 2021, President Biden issued an executive order (EO) mandating that Federal contractors and large employers require their employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19. Touted as a bold public health initiative, the EO is unprecedented: never before has the government issued a  mandate requiring employees to submit to a vaccination or weekly medical testing or be fired. But, as  the genie told Aladdin when granting his three wishes, there are “a few provisos, a couple of quid pro  quos.” Let’s briefly explore some of the questions the EO raises. 

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New Salary Threshold Proposed for Overtime Exemption

After what must be record-setting deliberations, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has published plans to raise the salary threshold – the amount a salaried administrative, executive, or professional employee must be paid in order to qualify as exempt from overtime – from $455 per week ($23,660 annually) to $679 per week ($35,308 annually). This is the minimum amount an employee must be guaranteed as a weekly salary, not subject to deductions for missed days or hours of work, in addition to satisfying other job-duty criteria to qualify as exempt from the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) general obligation to pay 1.5 times an employee’s “regular rate” for every hour worked over 40 in any work week.  DOL is soliciting yet more comment from the public, but the change is estimated to take effect January 1, 2020.

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OSHA ALERT - Revised Final Rule on Electronic Record keeping Issued

On January 24, 2019, OSHA issued a notice in the Federal Register (84 FR 380) amending the recordkeeping regulation by rescinding the requirement for establishments with 250 or more employees to electronically submit information from OSHA Forms 300 and 301. These establishments will continue to be required to maintain those records on-site, and OSHA will continue to obtain them as needed through inspections and enforcement actions. Establishments will continue to submit information from their Form 300A's.  Employers' responsibilities to report fatalities, hospitalizations, amputations and loss of an eye to OSHA remain the same.

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Senior Principal Larry Stine Featured in National News for OSHA Expertise

Atlanta Senior Principal Larry Stine, nationally recognized expert on occupational safety and health law, was extensively quoted in an article published by Bloomberg Law News on June 3, 2020.  Contrary to some reports the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has ramped up its inspections of many employers, especially meat and poultry processors, in response to COVID-19. 

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THE MOST IMPORTANT DOL GUIDANCE FOR YOU TO KNOW REGARDING EXPANDED FAMILY MEDICAL LEAVE AND PAID SICK LEAVE

The Most Important DOL Guidance for You to Know regarding Expanded Family Medical Leave and Paid Sick Leave

APRIL 2, 2020

On April 1, 2020, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) issued a temporary rule to implement the public health emergency and paid sick leave provisions.  The regulations are consistent with the questions and answers previously issued, and discussed below, as well as the webinar discussed below.  The most important clarification in the regulation is the type notice an employee must provide to the employer, and the documentation the employer may require the employee to provide as to the need for such leave.  Therefore, the applicable regulations in these areas are attached, Sections 826.90 and 826.100. 

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U.S. Department of Labor Issues Final Overtime Rule

On September 24, 2019, the U.S. Department of Labor announced its long-anticipated Final Rule on exemptions and overtime under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).  The new rule takes effect January 1, 2020.

Unlike its Obama-era predecessor, which was challenged in court and enjoined by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, the new Final Rule is more of an update than a reinvention of the regulatory structure.  It increases the salary thresholds necessary to exempt executive, administrative, or professional employees from the FLSA’s minimum wage and overtime pay requirements from $455 to $684 per week (equivalent to $35,568 per year for a full-year worker).  It also allows employers to count a portion of certain nondiscretionary bonuses and commissions towards meeting that salary level:  this will allow an employer to “catch up” an employee’s earnings at year end so the employee qualifies for the exemption. The total annual compensation level for highly compensated employees (HCE) is increased from the currently-enforced level of $100,000 to $107,432 per year.  Long-standing exemptions for teachers, lawyers, and other professionals remain unchanged.

The new salary thresholds basically just reflect growth in employee earnings since the current thresholds were last updated in 2004.  Similar revisions to special salary levels allowed for workers in U.S. territories and in the motion picture industry also are included.  Detailed information about the final rule is available at https://www.dol.gov/whd/overtime2019/.

What does this mean for you? Now is the time to take a look at your current payroll.  Make sure that salaried, exempt employees’ earnings meet or exceed the new $684/week threshold: but know that if you fall short, you may be able to make it up to them at year end (that will be December 2020) with a bonus.  Also check any “highly compensated” employees to be sure they are meeting or exceeding the new $107,432 level. 

Comment:  Unlike the previous Administration’s proposal, which sought to completely revamp the rules for overtime pay, this Final Rule should not pose difficult compliance problems.  As always, we will be happy to work with you to ensure that your questions are answered and that you can confidently plan and execute compensation policies in accordance with the law.

Questions?  Need more information?  Call Larry Stine at 404-365-0900.

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UPDATE – COVID-19 LEGISLATION

Update – COVID-19 Legislation

March 17, 2020

Update: The House has passed, and the President has indicated his support for, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act.  The Senate is to consider this bill on March 17, 2020. Employers are primarily impacted by the paid sick leave, expanded FMLA leave, and tax credit. 

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Webinar: OSHA’s Heat Stress Rule

  • Date?: 2022-07-01
  • Start Time: 12:00 PM
  • End Time: 12:45 PM
  • Presenter(s): Larry Stine & Sheri Oluyemi
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    Register

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  • Details to come.

    Presented by Larry Stine & Sheri Oluyemi.

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    promo graphic, Webinar: Urban Myths of the Fair Labor Standards Act – Wage Hour Law

    Webinar: Urban Myths of the Fair Labor Standards Act – Wage Hour Law

    • Listen to Webinar:

      Listen To This Webinar

    • Date?: 2022-05-06
    • Start Time: 12:00 PM
    • End Time: 12:45 PM
    • Presenter(s): Larry Stine & Les Schneider

    The Fair Labor Standards Act was passed in 1938, eighty-four years ago, and yet many employers continue to pay in violation of the FLSA based on urban myths. We address those urban myths, why they are wrong, and the right way to handle that myth.  Such urban myths are:  “I pay all of my employees' salaries so I do not have to pay overtime.”  “All of my workers are independent contractors so I do not have to worry about the Wage-Hour Law.”  We also address some of the more difficult issues such as paying tipped employees and remote employees.

    Explore the Wage and Hour law webinar on-demand.

    Presented by Larry Stine & Les Schneider

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    Watch This Webinar

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