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As employment law constantly changes, the attorneys at Bean, Kinney & Korman stay up to date on the law as it develops. Our blog topics focus on those changes and what you need to know about them, ranging from severance agreements and the FLSA to social media in the workplace and recent court decisions. If you are interested in having us cover a specific topic, please let us know.

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September 25, 2017
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Minimum Wage Rate Increases

Last week, the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) announced an increase in the minimum wage applicable to federal contractors for contracts that are covered by Executive Order 13658.  Effective January 1, 2018, the new hourly minimum wage rate will be $10.35, up from the current hourly rate of $10.20. The minimum hourly wage rate for tipped employees will increase to $7.25.

July 24, 2017
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Topics Employment

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (“USCIS”) announced on July 17, 2017 that it has released a newly revised Form I-9 Employment Eligibility Verification Form.  Federal law requires all employers to complete a Form I-9 for each individual hired for employment in the United States. 

Employers can begin using the revised version of the Form I-9 now, or continue to use the previous version of the form (11/14/16 rev. date).  However, as of September 18, 2017, only the new Form I-9 will be acceptable.

For employers in the District of Columbia and Montgomery County, Maryland, the cost of doing business just got more expensive.  Effective July 1, 2017, the hourly minimum wage rate in the District of Columbia increased a dollar to $12.50, while in Montgomery County, Maryland, the minimum hourly wage rate went up to $11.50. 

Virginia’s minimum hourly wage remains at $7.25, which mirrors the current federal hourly wage rate under the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”). In jurisdictions like D.C. and Montgomery County, which mandate a higher hourly minimum wage, employers must comply with the state- or locally-established minimum wage rate because it is more favorable to the employee than the FLSA hourly minimum.

In today’s global economy, it has become increasingly common for companies based in the United States to engage workers who live abroad for various purposes. U.S. companies often classify these workers as “independent contractors” to avoid having to navigate the employment landscape in other countries. However, U.S. companies should be aware of the potential pitfalls of misclassifying foreign workers, particularly in countries where employment laws tend to be more employee-friendly than U.S. law. Employers should consider the following factors when engaging foreign independent contractors to work abroad.

Like it or not, Donald Trump is the 45th President of the United States of America.  Now that the initial shock has worn off, it’s time to evaluate how federal employment laws, regulations, and enforcement may shift under the Trump Administration. 

While President Trump has not spoken at length regarding employment law since taking office, his pro-business philosophy and nomination of Andrew F. Puzder, a former restaurant executive, for Secretary of Labor (Puzder later withdrew his name from consideration) suggests that the Trump Administration will be significantly more employer-friendly than the Obama Administration

On October 1, 2016, Montgomery County, Maryland (the “County”) joined the growing list of jurisdictions requiring paid sick leave for employees of all entities doing business in Montgomery County. The County’s Earned Sick and Safe Leave Law (“Paid Leave Law”) is applicable to all employers doing business in the County.

This week, the County Council unanimously approved an expansion of the Paid Leave Law, effective as of November 1, 2016, to allow employees to use paid leave for the birth of a child or for the placement of a child with the employee for adoption or foster care. Employees will also be permitted to use paid leave to care for a newborn, newly adopted or newly placed child within one year of birth, adoption or placement of the child. The bill “is an important expansion of the [Paid Leave Law],” according to Tom Hucker, its lead sponsor, “to allow parents the flexibility to use their leave to spend time with their children.”

You can read an in-depth review of the Paid Leave Law here.

Editor's note: A federal district court has granted a preliminary injunction blocking the overtime rule from taking effect December 1, 2016.

The U.S. Department of Labor will today unveil new regulations effectuating significant changes to the payment of employee overtime under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The new rule will raise the salary exemption threshold for overtime pay under the FLSA from its current rate of $23, 660 a year to  $47,476 annually. Also raised under the new rule will be the total annual compensation level above which highly compensated white collar workers will be ineligible for overtime from the current $100,000 to $134,004 a year. The adjustments in the salary exemption thresholds will be the first since 2004 and only the third in the last four decades. The DOL estimates that the new rule will result in overtime eligibility for an additional 4.2 million additional workers nationwide.

The overtime salary exemption thresholds will be subject to automatic adjustment every three years, beginning on January 1, 2020, to raise the threshold to match the 40th percentile of full-time salaried workers in the lowest-wage Census Region. The new rule is set to go into effect on December 1, 2016.

You can view the the DOL's overview and summary of the final rule here.

Federal contractors, take notice: did you know that it is now illegal as a federal contractor to prevent your employees from discussing their compensation? The Department of Labor’s recent ruling may significantly impact your business and necessitate changes to your policies and practices. Continue reading to determine whether your business will be affected and how.

Federal contractors take notice: on Labor Day 2015, in a display of solidarity with workers and organized labor, President Barack Obama signed an executive order requiring paid sick leave for employees of federal government contractors. By some estimates, the executive order is likely to affect more than 300,000 employees of federal contractors who presently receive no paid leave benefits. The executive order, which will take effect in 2017, mandates that employees who work on federal contracts receive one hour of paid leave for every 30 hours worked. That works out to about seven days of paid leave per year for the average worker.

Predictably, the executive order, which President Obama was to have signed at a breakfast gathering of the Greater Boston Labor Council, is being applauded by organized labor groups. The executive order is the latest move by President Obama to expand entitlements and protections for federal contract workers. With other recent executive orders, he raised the minimum wage, expanded the availability of overtime for federal contract employees and expanded employee protections against discrimination to include sexual orientation and gender identity.

In a landmark decision on Thursday, the National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB” or “Board”), by a 3-2 vote, determined that its long-standing “joint-employment jurisprudence” had grown “increasingly out of step with changing economic circumstances, particularly the recent dramatic growth in contingent employment relationships, i.e., shift work, contract workers, and temporary employee relationships[,]” across the U.S.