As reported by our sister blog, ADR: Advice from the Trenches, the Sixth Circuit determined that an employer’s notice of its mandatory arbitration policy — without more to secure the employee’s knowing assent to this employment term — is not enough to compel arbitration. While this only applies in the Sixth Circuit (for now), it’s an important development in this area of the law.
Today we continue with our Year in Review segment, which looks at the key labor & employment law developments from 2016 in New York, the DC Metro Area, Massachusetts, and California, while offering our thoughts about 2017. Today we turn to the DC Metro Area. In addition, please join us in NYC on April 6, 2017 for Mintz Levin’s Third Annual Employment Law Summit as we address some of the key labor & employment issues impacting employers in 2017. Register here.
The District of Columbia, Maryland (including Montgomery County) witnessed an active 2016 with respect to new and amended workplace laws that impose additional responsibilities on employers, and expand employee rights and avenues of enforcement. Employers should be aware of these new requirements and take immediate action to comply with them. We highlight below the most significant updates in both D.C. and Maryland; there were no changes or additions of significance in Virginia.
The New York State Workers’ Compensation Board is out with proposed regulations providing guidance to employers, insurance carriers and employees regarding their rights and responsibilities under New York’s new Paid Family Leave law, which is scheduled to go into effect January 1, 2018. Comments on the proposed rules will be accepted for 45 days – until April 8th (although we note that’s a Saturday). For our earlier post on the enactment of the Paid Family Leave Act, see here.
On February 16, 2017, the New York State Industrial Board of Appeals invalidated and revoked the NYS Department of Labor regulations we wrote about previously (and updated here) governing payment of wages by direct deposit or payroll debit card. The regulations were scheduled to take effect on March 7, 2017.
In October, we wrote about the new NYSDOL regulations for employers who use direct deposit and/or payroll debit cards to pay their employees. The regulations take effect on March 7, 2017 – just about a month from now – and they impose a host of new rules on employers, including the requirement to provide notice and obtain consent from employees who elect to receive wages by direct deposit or payroll debit card.
My colleague Patricia Moran, wrote a Law360 article entitled In The ACA Age, Employee Handbooks Can Help — Or Hurt as a follow up to her latest post, Have You Reviewed your Employee Handbook for Affordable Care Act Compliance? In the article, Moran urges employers to review their health and welfare benefit documentation for ACA compliance. Given the anticipated increase in IRS audits, she notes that an employee handbook can be great tool to ensure compliance with the ERISA and the ACA. In addition to outlining the value of an ACA compliant handbook, Moran also examines common noncompliance issues.
The D.C. Mayor’s office recently issued employee pay notices templates that employers may use to satisfy the pay notice requirements under D.C.’s new Wage Theft Prevention Amendment Act. The Act, which took effect on February 26, 2015, requires employers, among other things, to provide written pay notices to all new employees at the time of hire, and to existing employees by May 27, 2015. The Department of Employment Services’ website has now made available a template for general employers and a template for temporary staffing firms. Employers should now move forward with providing notices to all new and existing employees, but they need only do so in English and not in the employee’s primary language unless and until the Mayor’s office releases a template in that language.
The D.C. Council has passed emergency legislation to address certain ambiguities in and other issues raised by D.C.’s Wage Theft Prevention Amendment Act, which takes effect on February 26, 2015. As we noted last month, the Act’s language as previously written was unclear on whether exempt employees were subject to the Act’s heightened recordkeeping requirements. The emergency legislation directly addresses this ambiguity, and makes clear that employers are not required to record the “precise time worked” for exempt employees. In addition, the emergency resolution clarifies that employers are not required to pay “bona fide administrative, executive, and professional” employees at least twice per month, but rather must pay such employees at least once per month.
Last October, we reported on DC’s soon-to-be-enacted DC Wage Theft Prevention Amendment Act. This Act, which amends several existing DC wage and hour laws, includes new notice requirements and retaliation protections, increases employer liability for wage and hour violations and introduces a new administrative hearing process — all changes that employers with DC-based employees need to be aware of.
Written by Michael Arnold
Confirming earlier reports, New York employers will not have to distribute New York State Wage Theft Act Annual Pay Notices in January 2015 or thereafter.