Informed Employer: BREAKING: DOL Issues Contractor/Employee Misclassification Interpretation Informed Employer: BREAKING: DOL Issues Contractor/Employee Misclassification Interpretation

Informed Employer: BREAKING: DOL Issues Contractor/Employee Misclassification Interpretation

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Cos. Require Workers to Stop Using E-Mail Amid New Overtime Rules
The buzzing phone or ding of an email from the bedside table might be standard these days. But a long-awaited proposal that would increase the number of employees eligible for overtime pay could mean more companies curtailing the use of work email after hours.
(Source: NPR, 2015-07-08) Read the full article
New Birth Control Rule Aims to Ease Qualms of Religious Employers
Hoping to put to rest one of the most difficult disputes over its health care law, the Obama administration unveiled its latest plan to address religious objections to providing free birth control for their female workers. The health care law requires most employers to cover birth control as preventive care, at no cost to women, but -- while houses of worship are exempt -- the requirement proved controversial with religious nonprofits and private businesses whose owners have deeply held beliefs.
(Source: U.S. News & World Report, 2015-07-10) Read the full article
Court Says Unpaid Internships Legal When Tied to Education
Unpaid internships are legal when they are closely tied to interns' educations, a U.S. appeals court in Manhattan said in reversing a decision that Fox Searchlight Pictures broke the law by not paying interns. The lower courts erred in finding that the interns should have been treated as employees because Fox derived some benefit from their work, the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said.
(Source: Reuters, 2015-07-02) Read the full article
IRS to Fine Small Firms for Reimbursing Workers for Health Care
A new Internal Revenue Service regulation will fine small businesses that reimburse employees for their health care coverage instead of providing a health insurance plan. The new excise tax, which went into effect on July 1, could cost business owners $100 per day per improperly covered employee, up to $36,500 per year.
(Source: McKnights, 2015-07-02) Read the full article
IRS Creates Three New Safe Harbors for 401(k), 403(b) Plans
If you have an auto-enrollment 401(k) or 403(b) plan -- where employees must opt out of the plan to receive their full salary -- or a plan with escalation features, then you probably have administrative problems. The IRS has created three new safe harbors under which you don't need to make corrective contributions (usually 50 percent of the employee's missed pretax deferral) for missed or incorrectly calculated employee pretax deferrals if certain conditions are met.
(Source: Business Management Daily, 2015-07-04) Read the full article
ESOPs Are Popular Option for Firms Facing Ownership Changes
ESOPs, a type of employee benefit plan that was almost unheard of before the early 1970s, have become the most common form of employee ownership in the United States, covering 13.5 million workers at 7,000 companies last year, according to the National Center for Employee Ownership. They're becoming an increasingly popular option for professional firms facing an ownership change.
(Source: Buffalo News, 2015-07-05) Read the full article
Few Small Businesses Get ACA Coverage Through Online Exchanges
Millions of Americans have health insurance because of the Affordable Care Act, but there's one area where enrollment has significantly dragged. Few small businesses are getting coverage through the law's online insurance exchange.
(Source: St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 2015-07-10) Read the full article
Employers Rethinking Definition of Traditional Workplaces
The traditional workplace is undergoing rapid change as the line between physical and digital blurs. Advances in mobile and cloud technology mean professionals can feasibly work from anywhere, at any time.
(Source: Guardian, 2015-07-13) Read the full article
 
 
 
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BREAKING: DOL Issues Contractor/Employee Misclassification Interpretation
David Carr

Earlier today, the U.S. Department of Labor issued an Administrator’s Interpretation detailing the DOL’s position on the factors used and emphasized in determining employee versus independent contractor status, which are relevant for coverage not only under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) but also the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). The Interpretation focuses on the FLSA’s broad definition of employ, as “suffer or permit” to work, and its intention to “ensure as broad of a scope of statutory coverage as possible.” The Interpretation reviews factor-by-factor the “economic realities” test used by the courts to determine whether, “as a matter of economic reality, the individual is dependent on the entity.” Contractors will primarily be those “workers with economic independence who are operating a business of their own. On the other hand, workers who are economically dependent on the employer, regardless of skill level, are employees covered by the FLSA.”

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Update on Employee Telecommuting
Bill Barath

Employers increasingly deal with an electronically-mobile workforce. Policies addressing bring-your-own-device (BYOD), mobile office and flexible work schedules are becoming more common in employee handbooks. One related issue is employee telecommuting. It can be a win-win if an employer and employee agree that telecommuting is viable in a given situation. It is not so simple if an employee wants to telecommute, but the employer does not agree for business or strategic reasons.

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Stuck in a Foreign Land

For the second straight year and just in time for the busy summer travel season, the database used by the US Department of Status (DOS) to issue travel documents crashed, creating worldwide delays for US passport applications filed overseas and all types of visas for foreign nationals seeking entry to the US. This year’s shutdown resulted in lengthy delays in overseas printing of US visas and passports, as well as in large numbers of rescheduled visa interviews.

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