Workplace Wise - Iowa Employment Law Attorneys

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

EEO-1 Pay Data Collection for 2017 and 2018

By Elizabeth A. Coonan


 The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced that employers must report pay data for 2017 and 2018 by September 30, 2019.  Pay data must be collected and reported with respect to race, sex and ethnicity. While the details regarding how to upload the required data have not yet been released, employers with 100 or more employees or federal contractors and subcontractors with 50 or more employees and at least $50,000 in federal contracts should be taking steps to ensure they have this data available for analysis and submission no later than September 30, 2019.  There is pending litigation that may affect the September 30 deadline. Check back here for updates and contact me or the BrownWinick Employment Attorney with whom you work for additional information.

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

DOL Proposes Updates to “Regular Rate” Under FLSA

By Megan Erickson Moritz

On March 28, 2019, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) announced another proposed rule to update regulations under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The proposed rule would amend 29 CFR part 778 to revise the “regular rate” requirements under section 7(e) of the FLSA, 29 U.S.C. § 207(e). 

Under the default rule for calculating required overtime premium, employers must pay 1.5 times the “regular rate” of pay for all hours worked beyond 40 in a workweek -- by dividing total hours worked by total pay for each workweek. Under the FLSA, an employee’s regular rate pretty much includes all pay an employee earns (unless specifically excluded under the statute) – which can include much more than just his or her base hourly rate. For example, most bonuses, commissions, incentive pay, shift premiums, and other benefits generally need to be included in the regular rate.  This often complicates overtime calculations (especially quarterly or annual bonuses, which can require after-the-fact calculation of additional overtime), and can dissuade employers from offering perks to non-exempt employees.  According to the DOL, the new “proposed rule focuses primarily on clarifying whether certain kinds of perks, benefits, or other miscellaneous items must be included in the regular rate. Because these regulations have not been updated in decades, the proposal would better define the regular rate for today’s workplace practices.”

The good news for employers:  the DOL says it intends to “encourage employers to provide additional and more creative benefits without fear of costly litigation.” The proposed rule aims to clarify when unused paid leave, bona fide meal periods, “call back” pay, reimbursements, benefit plans, and other ancillary benefits may be excluded from the overtime calculation. Specifically, the DOL proposes that the regulations confirm that employers may exclude the following kinds of benefits from an employee’s regular rate:
  • Wellness programs, such as onsite specialist treatment, gym access and fitness classes, 
  •  Employee discounts on retail goods and services;
  • Payments for unused paid leave, including paid sick leave;
  •  Benefit plans, such as accident, unemployment, and legal services,
  • Tuition reimbursement or student debt repayment; and
  •  Certain reimbursed expenses.
Most bonuses will still need to be included in the overtime rate calculation.  However, the DOL’s proposed rule attempts to elaborate on the types of bonuses that are and are not discretionary (and therefore, excludable) -- hopefully offering a little more clarity for employers. 

The Notice of Proposed Rulemaking was published on March 29, 2019, and the agency is accepting public comments through May 28, 2019.

If you have any questions about the DOL's proposal, or other wage and hour questions, please contact Megan Moritz (moritz@brownwinick.com) or another member of the BrownWinick Employment Practice Group.

Thursday, March 7, 2019

CLIENT ALERT: DOL Proposes New $35,308 Salary Threshold For Overtime Exemption

By Megan Erickson Moritz

Today, the U.S. Department of Labor announced a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, (again) proposing a hike to the salary threshold requirement under certain exemptions from the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). In short, the DOL says the change "would make more than a million more American workers eligible for overtime."  The proposal seeks to establish a new salary requirement of $679 a week ($35,308 a year). The proposal does not call for automated adjustments to the salary level -- a question that had been hotly contested.

The DOL set the current salary threshold of $455 a week ($23,660 a year) in 2004.  More information about the proposed rule is available here.  Once the rule is published in the Federal Register, the public has 60 days to submit comments for consideration by the Agency.

If you have any questions about the DOL's proposal, or other wage and hour questions, please contact Megan Moritz (moritz@brownwinick.com) or another member of the BrownWinick Employment Practice Group.


Friday, February 1, 2019

New Health Plan Option Designed for Groups of Small Employers

By Cynthia Lande, Alice Helle, Ellen Hames



Throughout 2018, the U.S. Department of Labor took steps to make it easier for small businesses to offer competitive health and retirement benefits to their employees. Association Health Plans (AHPs) will provide an innovative option for small firms to band together for health and retirement plan offerings.
BrownWinick has been monitoring these changes and has worked closely with the Iowa Insurance Division and expert insurance professionals in the state as the final rules and offerings for these plans were being finalized and adopted.  We will continue to monitor developments and provide updates as information is available. In the meantime, feel free to read "What You Need to Know - Association Health Plans" and if you have any question, please contact BrownWinick attorneys - Cynthia Lande / lande@brownwinick.com, Alice Helle / helle@brownwinick.com, or Ellen Hames / hames@brownwinick.com.