Posts tagged U.S. Department of Labor.
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On January 9, 2024, the United States Department of Labor’s (DOL) Wage and Hour Division (WHD) announced a final rule regarding how to determine whether a worker qualifies as an employee or may be considered an independent contractor under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).  Designed to combat misclassification, the final rule rescinds DOL’s Trump-era Independent Contractor Rule issued in January 2021 and restores the non-exhaustive six-factor test courts have long used to evaluate whether or not independent contractors were properly classified.  The test considers:

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    On April 28, 2023, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit reversed and remanded a decision from the Western District of Texas declining to issue a preliminary injunction barring the Department of Labor (“DOL”) from enforcing a regulation known as the “80/20/30 rule.”

    As we previously reported, on October 29, 2021, the DOL issued a final rule for determining which tipped employees may receive “tip credit” in lieu of receiving the full minimum wage directly from the employer.  Under the 80/20/30 rule, employers must pay employees at least the minimum wage if they spend more than 20% of their time on tasks that do not immediately and directly generate tips, including wiping down tables, filling salt and pepper shakers, rolling silverware into napkins, and other duties referred to in the industry as “side work,” or if they spend more than 30 consecutive minutes performing such tasks.  The Restaurant Law Center and the Texas Restaurant Association promptly sought a preliminary injunction in the Western District of Texas.

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    The Biden Administration continues to increase administrative agency enforcement initiatives.

    In a recent press release, the United States Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (“WHD”) announced that it now offers new resources “to help combat employer retaliation against workers who exercise their legal rights.” One of those resources is a Field Assistance Bulletin on “Protecting Workers from Retaliation” (“Bulletin”).

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    Misclassifying workers as independent contractors rather than employees is a costly mistake.  Among the many issues arising from misclassification is potential liability under federal and state minimum wage and overtime laws.  As the laws continue to change and develop, so do the risks to contracting entities.

    Federal Changes

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    The doctrine “joint employer” liability has received significant attention in recent months, including on this blog. Under the Fair Labor Standards Act, an employee may be deemed to have multiple employers—each of whom would be liable jointly for all aspects of FLSA compliance, including with regard to the payment of wages—in connection with his or her performance of the same work. During the prior administration, the U.S. DOL issued a rule intended to standardize the parameters of joint employer liability.  Months later, however, a federal court invalidated a portion of the new rule, holding that it impermissibly narrowed the scope of the joint employer doctrine. And, in July 2021, the DOL announced its outright repeal of the rule—i.e., whether a business might face joint employer liability will again be governed by the multi-factor “economic reality” test subject to varying judicial interpretations.

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    On June 21, 2021, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) announced a new proposed rule related to when an employer may take a tip credit and pay a lower minimum wage to tipped employees performing so-called tipped and non-tipped duties.  The proposed rule appeared in the Federal Register on June 23, 2021 and is open for public comment until August 23, 2021.  The proposal shows employers the new road that President’s Biden’s administration is paving, which is a sharp turn away from the Trump administration’s approach.

    The Fair Labors Standards Act (FLSA) allows employers to pay ...

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    As we previously discussed, in early January 2021, the U.S. Department of Labor issued a Final Rule regarding independent contractor status under the Fair Labor Standards Act.  On May 5, 2021, in line with the policy goals of the new administration, the Department issued a Final Rule withdrawing the January Final Rule.  The withdrawal went into effect on May 6, 2021, upon the publication in the Federal Register (86 FR 24303).  The January independent contractor rule was originally to go into effect in March, before the Department issued a notice of proposed rulemaking proposing to ...

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    On January 29, 2021, the U.S. Department of Labor announced the immediate termination of its Payroll Audit Independent Determination Program (PAID).  Launched in March 2018 by the Wage and Hour Division (WHD), PAID was intended to resolve wage and hour disputes with greater expediency and at lower cost to employers.  However, in the WHD’s press release, Principal Deputy Administrator Jessica Looman indicated that the program had not achieved the desired effect, stating that the PAID “program deprived workers of their rights and put employers that play by the rules at a ...

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    On January 6, 2021, the U.S. Department of Labor released its much-anticipated Final Rule addressing independent contractor status under the Fair Labor Standards Act.  The Department indicates that the rulemaking should appear in the Federal Register on January 7, 2021, with an effective date 60 days thereafter.

    The Final Rule is, in substance, very similar to the Proposed Rule the Department issued in September 2020 (and discussed here).  Under the Final Rule, the key points are as follows:

    • The “ultimate inquiry” is whether an individual is “economically dependent” on ...
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    On September 22, 2020, the U.S. Department of Labor (“DOL”) released its highly anticipated proposed rule for distinguishing independent contractors from employees under the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”).

    When evaluating independent contractor status under the FLSA, courts have traditionally applied what is known as the “economic realities” test. The test varies slightly from circuit to circuit, and, perhaps, court to court, but courts generally consider the following factors on a non-exclusive basis: (i) the degree of control that the putative employer ...

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    On September 8, 2020, a federal district court struck down the U.S. Department of Labor’s (“DOL”) Final Rule on joint employer liability, concluding that the Rule violated the Administrative Procedure Act (“APA”) by impermissibly narrowing the definition of joint employment under the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”), departing from the DOL’s prior interpretations on joint employment without adequate explanation, and otherwise being arbitrary and capricious.  We previously blogged about the details of the Final Rule here.  The DOL published the Final Rule in ...

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    While the COVID-19 pandemic remains a challenge to employers nationwide, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (“WHD”) continues to field non-COVID-related wage and hour questions.  On June 25, 2020, the WHD issued five new opinion letters addressing the outside sales, administrative, and retail or service establishment exemptions under the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”), as well as the relationship between third-party payments to workers and the FLSA’s minimum wage requirement.  Employers should take note of these useful explanations of key ...

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    As we wrote in this space just last week, the U.S. Department of Labor (“DOL”) has proposed a new salary threshold for most “white collar” exemptions.  The new rule would increase the minimum salary to $35,308 per year ($679 per week) – nearly the exact midpoint between the longtime $23,600 salary threshold and the $47,476 threshold that had been proposed by the Obama Administration.  The threshold for “highly compensated” employees would also increase -- from $100,000 to $147,414 per year.

    Should the proposed rule go into effect – and there is every reason to believe it ...

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    The U.S. Department of Labor has released a proposal to update the overtime rules under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act. Employers should be prepared to raise salaries to meet the minimum thresholds, pay overtime when appropriate, and otherwise adhere to the new rules if they go into effect.

    Federal overtime provisions are contained in the Fair Labor Standards Act ("FLSA"). Unless exempt, employees covered by the FLSA must receive overtime pay for hours worked over 40 in a workweek. To be exempt from overtime (i.e., not entitled to receive overtime), an exemption must apply ...

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    In May of this year, the U.S. Department of Labor (“DOL”) announced its final rule to increase the minimum salary for white-collar exemptions, effective December 1, 2016. With less than two months to go before that new rule takes effect, employers still have time to decide how to address those otherwise exempt employees whose current salaries would not satisfy the new rule, by either increasing their salaries or converting them to non-exempt status.

    The New Salary Thresholds

    Effective December 1, 2016, the salary threshold for the executive, administrative, and professional ...

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    The Administrator of the Wage Hour Division of U.S. Department of Labor has issued an Administrator’s Interpretation of the FLSA’s definition of “employ.” And the conclusion is one that not only could have a significant impact on the way companies do business, but lead to numerous class and collective actions alleging that workers have been misclassified as independent contractors.

    Addressing the misclassification of employees as independent contractors, the Administrator’s Interpretation notes that the FLSA’s defines the term “employ” as “to suffer ...

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    Epstein Becker Green is pleased to announce the availability of a Wage and Hour Division Investigation Checklist, which provides employers with valuable information about wage and hour investigations and audits conducted by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL). Like EBG's first-of-its kind Wage and Hour App, which provides detailed information about federal and state laws, the Checklist is a free resource offered by EBG.

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