Mull v. Motion Picture Ind. Health Plan educates employers on the basics of the requirements of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) governing plan documents and summary plan descriptions. The lessons are sobering, particularly as they relate to group health plans. Although compliance with these requirements is neither difficult nor expensive, many employers nevertheless ignore them. The decision in this case might—and, in our view, should—encourage them to reconsider.

Continue Reading The Ninth Circuit Weighs in on ERISA’s Plan Document and Summary Plan Description Requirements: Mull v. Motion Picture Ind. Health Plan

Last week, lawyers for the federal government told an appeals court that the Department of Labor plans to revise the currently-blocked overtime rule issued during the Obama administration last year.   But it won’t do so, it said, until the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals confirms that it has the right to set that threshold.

Continue Reading In the Latest Episode of The Overtime Rule Soap Opera: DOL Tells Fifth Circuit It Will Revise Obama-Era Overtime Rule – But Not Just Yet

As we discussed yesterday at Mintz Levin’s Third Annual Employment Law Summit, big changes are likely in the offing as all three branches of our federal government begin to deal with labor and employment issues following President Trump’s election. President Trump’s first 100 days has already included action on a number of employment and labor law issues we’re following here at Mintz Levin.  The Administration has enacted or signaled changes – some potentially significant – in executive orders and through pronouncements of regulatory and enforcement priorities that promise to impact the field of labor and employment law.  Additionally, the expected confirmation this week of Judge Neil Gorsuch means all hands on deck at the United States Supreme Court, and congressional action so far suggests a potentially employer-friendly climate on Capitol Hill.

Below, we highlight changes in the leadership, regulation, and likely course forward for each of the branches of the federal government, and offer our predictions for 2017 and beyond under the current Administration.  Continue Reading Steady as She Goes or Charting a New Course? Employment and Labor Signals in the Trump Administration

The Fourth Circuit recently ruled that a general contractor was the joint employer of employees of its subcontractor for purposes of the Fair Labor Standards Act.  Salinas v. Commercial Interiors, Inc. has broad implications for the wage and overtime responsibilities of employers located within the Fourth Circuit, which has jurisdiction over appeals from federal courts located in Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and West Virginia.

Continue Reading Fourth Circuit Offers New Test for Joint Employment under FLSA

This morning Punxsutawney Phil told us that we are facing six more weeks of winter.  Great.  We thought it served as a good opportunity to remind employers of the importance of establishing inclement weather policies that are compliant with wage and hour laws for both exempt and non-exempt employees.  Here is a quick, yet helpful, Q&A for your reading pleasure:

Continue Reading The Groundhog Says Six More Weeks of Winter, So Employers Should Remain Mindful of Their Obligations During Inclement Weather

Written by Brendan Lowd

Just before Thanksgiving, a Texas federal court judge issued an injunction blocking the closely-watched new federal overtime rule from taking effect as scheduled on December 1, 2016.  As expected, the DOL is not going quietly into the night and the parties have engaged in a flurry of court filings as the fight, at least in part, concerning whether the new rule is lawful shifts to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.

Continue Reading The Saga Continues on the Fate of the DOL’s Overtime Rule

Employers across the country woke up this morning to news that a Texas District Court judge has blocked the DOL’s overtime rule from taking effect on December 1, 2016.  This represents a stunning turn of events for employers. They will now be able to continue to treat as exempt from overtime “white collar” workers who are paid a salary of at least the current minimum level of $23,660 per year without raising their salary to the proposed new minimum of at least $47,476, as the new rule had required. But, anticipating the new rule taking effect on December 1, many employers had already re-classified employees as non-exempt or raised their salaries to maintain the exemption or communicated the anticipated changes to their workforce.  And even those employers who have waited until the last minute to ready themselves for compliance have been left scratching their heads as to next steps, now that the rule will not, at least for now, take effect.  This post explores the court’s decision and employer’s potential responses to it.

Continue Reading With DOL’s OT Rule Blocked, Employers Are Left Asking “What’s Next?”

In a stunning turn of events for employers, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas has entered a nationwide injunction, ruling that the Department of Labor’s new overtime rule, which was slated to go into effect on December 1, is unlawful. As a result, at least for now, the rule will not take effect. This is a welcome (but perhaps temporary) victory for employers who will be able to continue to treat as exempt from overtime “white collar” workers who are paid a salary of at least the current minimum level of $23,660 per year without raising their salary to the proposed new minimum of at least $47,476. But the ruling may be unsettling for employers who already have re-classified employees or raised employees’ salaries to meet the requirements of the anticipated – – but for now dead on arrival – – new rule. Continue Reading BREAKING NEWS: New Overtime Rule Derailed; Will not Take Effect on December 1.

As all HR professionals and employment lawyers know (even those currently living under rocks), the Department of Labor’s final overtime rule is scheduled to go into effect on December 1, 2016 – less than two weeks from now.  The DOL published the rule back on May 18, 2016 providing employers with nearly 200 days to come into compliance.  Many have planned accordingly and are ready to go; others are finally focusing on this issue as the deadline nears.  At the same time, questions continue to arise over the rule’s fate.  In this post, we discuss the current state of play along with some compliance tips for employers.

Continue Reading Uncertainty Continues to Swirl Around DOL’s Overtime Rule as Employers Make Compliance Push

In April of this year, the Department of Labor issued a suite of rules (i) expanding the class of persons and entities who are fiduciaries for purposes of ERISA and the Internal Revenue Code; (ii) providing two new prohibited transaction exemptions (or PTEs); and (iii) amending a handful of existing PTEs to conform to the new regulatory regime. (For a list of, and links to, the suite of final rules, please see our post of April 11, 2016.) The fiduciary definition, exemptions and amendments, and their respective preambles, occupy in total almost 1,000 pages of the Federal Register. Collectively, these items enact a sea-change in the regulation of investment advice provided to ERISA-covered retirement plans and Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs). When the Department promulgated these rules, it promised to provide subsequent guidance—including Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)—in response to questions that would inevitably arise.

Speaking at a trade association meeting in Boston at the end of October, a senior Department of Labor official reported that the Department was hard at work on its first set of FAQs. He said that the FAQs would reinforce some of the rule’s basic concepts that questioners seemed to struggle with and add some gloss to particular aspects of the rule that the Department felt needed additional attention. His predictions proved accurate. In this post we provide a sampling of some of the highlights of the recently issued FAQs. We have chosen three topics that fall under the heading of “basic concepts,” and three topics that elucidate particular aspects of these rules. There is, of course, a measure of editorial discretion at work in our selection to topics. Other practitioners might choose differently based on their particular needs and interests. For anyone who works with or needs to comply with these rules, we recommend reading the FAQs in their entirety.

Continue Reading Labor Department Issues FAQs Explaining Aspects of the 2016 Final Fiduciary Rule