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On Dec. 29, 2020, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) issued Field Assistance Bulletin 2020-7, which addresses when the DOL will consider electronic posting by employers (by email, or an internet or intranet website) sufficient to provide employees with required notice of their statutory rights under a variety of federal labor laws.

The Bulletin was issued in response to employer questions about the use of electronic means to post notices under the following laws, as more employees work remotely due to the COVID-19 pandemic:

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On Dec. 29, 2020, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) published Field Assistance Bulletin 2020-8 to provide enforcement guidance regarding the use of telemedicine when establishing a serious health condition under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).

FMLA Eligibility

FMLA job protections are available to eligible employees who need to take time off work due to their own serious health condition or the serious health condition of a spouse, child or parent.

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On Nov. 30, 2020, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) issued two opinion letters to help employers understand how to comply with the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) overtime wage payment requirements for piece-rate and agricultural employees.

Opinion letters provide the DOL’s official position on how labor and employment standards apply in specific situations.

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On Nov. 3, 2020, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) published two new opinion letters providing the DOL’s official position on how the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) applies to employee pay when there is work-related travel or employee training.

Voluntary Training Programs

The FLSA requires employers to compensate their employees for all hours of work. While the FLSA does not define what qualifies as “work,” the U.S. Supreme Court has determined that employees should be compensated for any time that “is spent predominantly for the employer’s benefit.”

HR Compliance Bulletin header imageThe U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) final rule on defining and delimiting the exemptions for executive, administrative, professional, outside sales and computer employees (EAP employees) became effective Jan. 1, 2020. Among other things, the final rule updated the standard salary level employees must satisfy to qualify for an overtime exemption.

The final rule also allows employers to use nondiscretionary bonuses and incentive payments (including commissions) to satisfy up to 10% of the standard salary level if these payments are made at least on an annual basis. To enable compliance with the nondiscretionary bonus option, the final rule allows employers to make a “catch-up” payment at the end of each 52-week period. This Compliance Overview explains how this provision can be used.

Employers that sponsor group health plans should provide certain benefit notices in connection with their plans’ open enrollment periods. Some of these notices must be provided at open enrollment time, such as the summary of benefits and coverage (SBC).

Other notices, such as the Women’s Health and Cancer Rights Act (WHCRA) notice, must be distributed annually. Although these annual notices may be provided at different times throughout the year, employers often choose to include them in their open enrollment materials for administrative convenience. In addition, employers should review their open enrollment materials to confirm that they accurately reflect the terms and cost of coverage. In general, any plan design changes for 2021 should be communicated to plan participants either through an updated summary plan description (SPD) or a summary of material modifications (SMM).

Legal Update HeaderOn Oct. 29, 2020, the Departments of Labor (DOL), Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Treasury (Departments) issued a final rule regarding transparency in coverage that imposes new transparency requirements on group health plans and health insurers in the individual and group markets. These provisions only apply to non-grandfathered coverage, including both insured and self-insured group health plan sponsors.

This final rule was issued in response to an executive order issued on June 24, 2019, aimed at improving price and quality transparency in health care.

Legal Update HeaderOn Sept. 22, 2020, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) announced a proposed rule to clarify how employers should classify their workers as either employees or independent contractors.

Accurate worker classification enables employers to determine which obligations, protections, rights and benefits apply to their employees under the law. Read More Button