Overtime Final Rule Still Under Attack While at OMB

The final rule setting a new salary threshold for overtime exemptions, now under review by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), is still being attacked as overly aggressive by business groups.

The final rule reached OMB March 17. Since then, OMB has held 22 meetings with business groups seeking to tone down the rule. What most troubles these groups is the proposed doubling of the overtime salary exemption threshold from $23,660 a year to $50,440.

Even if, as reported by Politico Pro, the threshold is lowered to $47,000, these groups say the increase is still too much.

Another bone of contention is the proposed 60-day implementation window, which these groups say is way too short. They’re opting for as many as 180 days.


NOTE: The details in this blog are provided for informational purposes only. All answers are general in nature and do not constitute legal advice. If legal advice or other expert assistance is required, the services of a competent professional should be sought. The author specifically disclaims any and all liability arising directly or indirectly from the reliance on or use of this blog.
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DOL Launches Veterans.gov, One-Stop Employment Service

The Veterans’ Employment and Training Service (VETS) of the Department of Labor (DOL) has announced the launch of a newly enhanced online one-stop for employment services, Veterans.gov. The website brings together job banks, state employment offices, American Job Centers, opportunities in top-trending industry sectors, and employer assistance in a single online location.

VETS’ re-designed Veterans.gov to become a “first stop” in the employment search process for veterans, transitioning service members and their spouses. The site will be a valuable resource for employers seeking to hire veterans and their spouses.

For job seekers, the site offers:

  • One-on-one assistance in the nearly 2,500 American Job Centers in communities nationwide.
  • Veterans’ Job Bank/National Labor Exchange online job listings.
  • Searchable career paths by industry, by similarity to military careers, or by keyword.
  • Links to approved local training programs, colleges and universities.
  • Resources from federal partners to connect with industry-specific career programs in sectors including agriculture, transportation, energy/utilities, homeland security and other federal employment.
  • Tools to learn how to become an entrepreneur and to start a business.
  • Connection to the Veterans Employment Center portal.

For employers, the site provides:

  • Ability to connect with the VETS’ regional employer outreach specialists to access local resources for meeting your unique hiring needs.
  • Ability to upload available openings and position descriptions to the Veterans’ Job Bank/National Labor Exchange database.
  • Access to “America’s Heroes at Work,” a free toolkit to assist employers seeking to hire veterans.
  • Ability to make a commitment to hire veterans on the Veterans Employment Center portal.

“There are many resources for veterans seeking employment and for those employers eager to hire veterans, but it’s often difficult for both groups to know where to start,” said Assistant Secretary of Labor for Veterans’ Employment and Training Mike Michaud. “Veterans.gov brings those resources together in one place, making it an effective first stop on the path to meaningful employment.”


NOTE: The details in this blog are provided for informational purposes only. All answers are general in nature and do not constitute legal advice. If legal advice or other expert assistance is required, the services of a competent professional should be sought. The author specifically disclaims any and all liability arising directly or indirectly from the reliance on or use of this blog.
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More Uber Drivers Seek Employer Status, Benefits

Lawyers in Florida and Illinois have filed nationwide class action lawsuits seeking overtime pay and other benefits for Uber drivers.

The lawsuits come on the heels of a potential $100 million settlement by Uber Technologies just this past week over similar claims in class action lawsuits originating in California ad Massachusetts.

The Illinois lawsuit also seeks driver tips that were “earned but stolen by Uber, or were lost” due to Uber’s policies.

Under terms of last week’s settlement, which is yet to be approved by the presiding judge, Uber agreed to stop telling passengers that tips are included in the fares they pay.


NOTE: The details in this blog are provided for informational purposes only. All answers are general in nature and do not constitute legal advice. If legal advice or other expert assistance is required, the services of a competent professional should be sought. The author specifically disclaims any and all liability arising directly or indirectly from the reliance on or use of this blog.
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Form 300A Summaries Can Come Down, But Must Be Retained

April 30 fell on Saturday, so it’s now time that businesses can take down their workplace postings of the OSHA Form 300A, the summary of injuries and illnesses that must be displayed yearly from February through April 30. However, the summaries must be retained for five years as part of mandated recordkeeping.

OSHA Form 300, which is a detailed record of all workplace injuries and illnesses for the year, also must be retained for five years.


NOTE: The details in this blog are provided for informational purposes only. All answers are general in nature and do not constitute legal advice. If legal advice or other expert assistance is required, the services of a competent professional should be sought. The author specifically disclaims any and all liability arising directly or indirectly from the reliance on or use of this blog.
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New Overtime Exemption Threshold: $47,000 or $50,400?

The new overtime exemption rule formulated by the Department of Labor (DOL) is now under review by the Office of Management and Budget, which puts it in line for implementation this summer.

When the DOL first floated the new overtime rule, it pegged the annual salary to qualify for an exemption from overtime at $50,400, but now Politico Pro — citing insider information — says the final rule pegs the salary level at $47,000 a year.

In other words, to qualify for an overtime exemption, an employee must be paid at least $47,000 a year.

The current threshold is $23,660.


NOTE: The details in this blog are provided for informational purposes only. All answers are general in nature and do not constitute legal advice. If legal advice or other expert assistance is required, the services of a competent professional should be sought. The author specifically disclaims any and all liability arising directly or indirectly from the reliance on or use of this blog.
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HHS to Fund Zika Virus Research

To speed the development of diagnostic tests for Zika virus infection, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) will support the collection of blood samples from people in the continental United States and Puerto Rico who have been infected with Zika virus, the agency announced on Wednesday.

Under a six-month, $692,000 project funded by ASPR’s Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), Clinical Research Management Inc. of Hinckley, Ohio, will collect blood samples from people who have had confirmed Zika virus infection, in coordination with state and local health departments and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). These samples will be collected and made available to diagnostic companies for use in validating the performance of their tests.

“Accurate diagnostic tools are vital for health care providers and their patients to determine whether people have been infected with Zika, especially pregnant women and their partners,” said Dr. Richard Hatchett, acting director of BARDA. “Today’s agreement will help ensure manufacturers will have access to resources they need to improve and ensure the accuracy of their diagnostic tools and help us better protect our nation against Zika.”


NOTE: The details in this blog are provided for informational purposes only. All answers are general in nature and do not constitute legal advice. If legal advice or other expert assistance is required, the services of a competent professional should be sought. The author specifically disclaims any and all liability arising directly or indirectly from the reliance on or use of this blog.
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HHS Issues Final Rule to Overhaul Medicaid and CHIP Managed Care

On Monday the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued a final rule to overhaul managed care in the Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) systems.

The final rule has four key goals, according to HHS:  (1) supporting states’ efforts to advance delivery system reform and improvements in quality of care for Medicaid and CHIP beneficiaries; (2) strengthening the consumer experience of care and key consumer projections; (3) strengthening program integrity by improving accountability and transparency; and (4) aligning rules across health insurance coverage programs to improve efficiency and help consumers who are transitioning between sources of coverage.

“Medicaid improves the health, well-being, and financial security of millions of Americans,” said Vikki Wachino, director of the Center for Medicaid and CHIP Services. “These new rules will help Medicaid continue to be a leader in providing high-quality care to diverse populations with diverse health needs.”

To support states’ efforts to advance delivery system reform and improve quality, the rule also establishes Medicaid’s first Quality Rating System and clarifies states’ authority to enter into contracts that pay plans for quality or encourage participation in alternative payment models and other delivery system reform efforts.


NOTE: The details in this blog are provided for informational purposes only. All answers are general in nature and do not constitute legal advice. If legal advice or other expert assistance is required, the services of a competent professional should be sought. The author specifically disclaims any and all liability arising directly or indirectly from the reliance on or use of this blog.
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CDC, OSHA Issue Guidelines on Protecting Workers from Zika Virus

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) have issued new guidance and information for protecting workers from occupational exposure to Zika virus.

  • Interim guidance for outdoor workers, healthcare and laboratory workers, mosquito control workers, and business travelers to protect against occupational exposure to Zika virus
  • Interim guidance and recommendations for employers to use to protect their workers
  • Interim guidance and recommendations for workers to consider to protect themselves from mosquito bites and exposure to an infected person’s blood or other body fluids

CDC announced it will continue to update its guidance as new information related to Zika virus transmission and related health effects becomes available, based on the accumulating evidence, expert opinion, and knowledge about the risk associated with other viral infections.

Please visit http://www.cdc.gov/zika/vector/index.html for the most updated maps showing the approximate and potential locations of the two species of mosquitoes that are associated with Zika transmission.


NOTE: The details in this blog are provided for informational purposes only. All answers are general in nature and do not constitute legal advice. If legal advice or other expert assistance is required, the services of a competent professional should be sought. The author specifically disclaims any and all liability arising directly or indirectly from the reliance on or use of this blog.
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DOL Issues New FMLA Poster and Employer Guidebook

The Department of Labor (DOL) today announced that it will be issuing a newer, more user-friendly FMLA (Family and Medical Leave Act) poster, along with a guidebook for employers.employerguide-tn

The new poster can be used interchangeably with the previous version, but one or the other is mandatory if your company qualifies for FMLA leave for its employees (at least 50 employees within a 75-mile radius).

The new “Employer’s Guide to the Family and Medical Leave Act” is designed to “provide essential information about the FMLA, including information about employers’ obligations under the law and the options available to employers in administering leave under the FMLA.”


NOTE: The details in this blog are provided for informational purposes only. All answers are general in nature and do not constitute legal advice. If legal advice or other expert assistance is required, the services of a competent professional should be sought. The author specifically disclaims any and all liability arising directly or indirectly from the reliance on or use of this blog.
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Reality TV Goes Too Far, Films Dying Patient — Gets Fined $2.2M

This week, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office for Civil Rights (OCR) announced that it reached a $2.2 million settlement with New York Presbyterian Hospital (NYP) for the egregious disclosure of two patients’ protected health information (PHI) to film crews and staff during the filming of “NY Med,” an ABC television series, without first obtaining authorization from the patients.

In particular, OCR found that NYP allowed the ABC crew to film someone who was dying and another person in significant distress, even after a medical professional urged the crew to stop.

“This case sends an important message that OCR will not permit covered entities to compromise their patients’ privacy by allowing news or television crews to film the patients without their authorization,” said Jocelyn Samuels, OCR’s director.  “We take seriously all complaints filed by individuals, and will seek the necessary remedies to ensure that patients’ privacy is fully protected.”

By allowing individuals receiving urgent medical care to be filmed without their authorization by members of the media, NYP’s actions blatantly violate the HIPAA Privacy and Security Rules, which were specifically designed to prohibit the disclosure of individuals’ PHI, including images, in circumstances such as these.

OCR also found that NYP failed to safeguard protected health information and allowed ABC film crews virtually unfettered access to its health care facility, effectively creating an environment where PHI could not be protected from impermissible disclosure to the ABC film crew and staff.  In addition to the $2.2 million, OCR will monitor NYP for two years as part of this settlement agreement, helping ensure that NYP will remain compliant with its HIPAA obligations while it continues to provide care for patients.


NOTE: The details in this blog are provided for informational purposes only. All answers are general in nature and do not constitute legal advice. If legal advice or other expert assistance is required, the services of a competent professional should be sought. The author specifically disclaims any and all liability arising directly or indirectly from the reliance on or use of this blog.
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