Employers should continue to track and keep records of the percentage of time tipped wage earners spend performing non-tip eligible tasks, as the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has pressed pause on several provisions of the Trump Administration’s 2020 Final Rule addressing Tip Regulations under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Among the provisions paused is one that effectively eliminated the so-called “80/20” Rule and allowed an employer to still take a tip credit for certain non-tipped duties.
Employers take note: recently New York became the 15th state to legalize recreational marijuana use through Senate Bill 854A, and Virginia is not far behind. These and other developments related to marijuana continue to impact the workplace.
With COVID-19 vaccines now available to every adult in the United States, employers are starting to see a light at the end of the tunnel after a year of uncertainty. But for employers whose workforces spent a year away from the office, a safe return to normalcy presents new legal, practical, and ethical questions.
Employers should be busy preparing tailored COBRA continuation coverage notices for certain individuals, addressing complicated election and altered COBRA premium topics that took effect only in recent weeks. Below, we offer practical summaries and specific timing suggestions for the anxiously awaited model notices that have now been released. Notices will soon reach Americans who could receive up to six months of free COBRA coverage after having lost their active employee coverage within a certain time frame due to either an involuntary termination of employment or a reduction in hours.
Despite this week’s well-publicized hiccups with concerns having been raised about the safety of certain COVID-19 vaccines, our country’s march toward widespread community vaccination continues. American employers are eying society’s increasing vaccination rates with interest and optimism, as a critical component of their safe and secure workplace strategies and physical return-to-work operational plans.
Certain large employers are going so far as to leverage available governmental resources to offer vaccines on their physical employer premises. But larger numbers of employers are entering the vaccine discussion in a less direct way. For example, employer-sponsored group health plans are paying for the full cost of the vaccines themselves, as well as the administration charges for those vaccines. Additionally, employers are considering further incentivizing vaccinations outside their group health plans.
In response to a recent General Accounting Office (GAO) report recommending federal guidance to mitigate cybersecurity risks in retirement plans and to respond to ever-increasing cyber threats to plan participant data and plan assets, the DOL’s Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) published its first cybersecurity guidance for plan sponsors, plan fiduciaries, record keepers, and plan participants of ERISA-covered retirement plans. The guidance issued on April 14, 2021 address the following three topics:
- Cybersecurity program best practices for services providers;
- Plan sponsor tips for evaluating service providers’ cyber security practices; and
- Online security tips for plan participants.
California employers may not apply time-rounding procedures to meal period time entries, based on a recent California Supreme Court decision. The decision provides two key takeaways for California employers:
Pay equity will be a focus of the Biden Administration, as was made clear in the White House Proclamation on Equal Pay Day last week. But states are not waiting on the federal government to act; several are moving forward with pay transparency and equity laws. California is the first state to enact its own pay data reporting law, with the first reporting deadline this week, and more changes are coming.
As various states (Texas, Mississippi, Montana, Iowa, and many more) have done away with mask mandates and as vaccinations become more widely disseminated amongst the general population, many individuals may be emboldened to throw their face coverings in the trash and never look back. However, employers may be hesitant to lift mask requirements and other COVID-19 protocol in their workplaces for a variety of (valid) reasons. But can employees refuse to don masks as they return to work in offices and other physical workspaces? What can employers do when employees try to make masks things of the past?
Employers wading through the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan Act may be wondering how it impacts paid leave and payroll tax credits made available under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), enacted back in March 2020. Here’s the scoop: