Department of Labor Releases New, Narrow “Joint Employer” Rule

Last week, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) released the final version of its new “joint employer” rule. The rule limits the scenarios in which businesses will be treated as joint employers under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and, therefore, reduces their potential liability for FLSA violations committed by their business partners.

The final rule, which goes into effect on March 16, 2020, requires that a business exercise control over workers in order to be considered their joint employer.… More

FLSA Clarifies What Counts as the “Regular Rate” of Pay for Overtime Calculations

Last week, the United States Department of Labor (“DOL”) announced a rule clarifying the types of compensation that should be included when determining an employee’s “regular rate” of pay for the purpose of calculating overtime pay under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”). The new rule permits employers to exclude certain fringe benefits provided to employees when calculating the employee’s regular rate of pay. The rule is the first update to the relevant regulations in half a century,… More

NLRB Announces New Union Election Procedures

In 2014, the Obama-era National Labor Relations Board made over two dozen changes to the union election rules that effectively shortened the time period between the filing of the petition and the election and limited the types of issues that could be resolved in a pre-election hearing. On December 13, 2019, the Board, now controlled by a Republican majority, announced a new rule scaling back the 2014 changes. The new rule is anticipated to slow down the election process and give parties and the Board time to resolve key issues prior to an election.… More

Union Organizes First Cannabis Shop in Massachusetts

In November 2019, United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW) became the first union to organize employees at a Massachusetts cannabis company.  According to the Boston Globe, two-thirds of Sira Naturals, Inc.’s employees, who work at its cultivation and manufacturing facility and its dispensaries, voted to join UFCW.  Sira issued its own announcement indicating that in advance of the vote it entered a labor peace agreement with UFCW allowing union representatives to come onsite and talk with employees about unionizing. Now that Sira’s workforce is unionized, it will negotiate a collective bargaining agreement with UFCW that will cover the workers’ terms and conditions of employment.

UFCW says that is currently represents tens of thousands of cannabis workers across the country, and it has a dedicated campaign to build its presence wherever cannabis is legal.   Based on its recent win at Sira, other Massachusetts cannabis businesses can expect to hear from UFCW about similar access to their workers. They can also expect UFCW to reach out to their workers directly about joining its ranks. If you have questions about these developments or would like to speak with our labor team, please contact us.

Department of Family and Medical Leave Provides Additional Guidance on PFMLA Exemptions

The new Massachusetts Paid Family and Medical Leave Act (PFMLA) came into effect on October 1, 2019, requiring employers to begin collecting payroll deductions and matching contributions to be submitted to the state Department of Family and Medical Leave (Department) by the end of January. These contributions, as we have described in previous alerts, will fund family and medical leave pay benefits that will be available to most Massachusetts employees beginning on January 1,… More

U.S. Department of Labor Announces New Overtime Salary Basis Rule

On September 24, 2019, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) unveiled the final version of its new overtime salary basis rule. The new rule increases the minimum salary threshold for salary-based overtime exemptions from $455 per week (or $23,600 annually) to $684 per week (or $35,568 annually). In addition to increasing the salary basis for administrative, executive and professional employees, the new rule allows employers to use nondiscretionary bonuses and incentive payments (such as commissions) to satisfy up to 10 percent of the salary basis level,… More

NLRB Places Further Limitations on “Micro Units”

On September 9, 2019, the National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB”) clarified its standard for reviewing the appropriateness of small bargaining units within larger workforces, sometimes referred to as “micro units.” The ruling gives employers guidance on how the NLRB will apply the so-called “community of interest” standard in such cases and gives the NLRB significant leeway to reject such units.

The NLRB’s decision concerned a bargaining unit at a Boeing Co.… More

UPDATE: EEOC Will Not Collect Pay Data for 2019, 2020 or 2021

As we reported in previous alerts (April 26, 2019 and May 9, 2019), all employers with 100 or more employees must submit employee pay data for 2017 and 2018 to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) on an updated Employer Information Report Form (EEO-1) by September 30, 2019. However, this may end up being a one-time requirement. On September 12, 2019, the EEOC announced that it will not be requiring EEO-1 filers to submit pay data for 2019,… More

NLRB Adopts “Contract Coverage” Standard

New Ruling Makes It Easier for Employers to Introduce Workplace Changes During Term of Collective Bargaining Agreement

 

On September 10, 2019, in MV Transportation, Inc., Case No. 28-CA-173726, the National Labor Relations Board adopted a new “unilateral change” rule. The new rule permits employers to make unilateral changes in the workplace during the term of a collective bargaining agreement, without first bargaining with the union representing its employees,… More

Massachusetts PFMLA Update

Department Clarifies that Law Will Not Apply to Properly Classified Independent Contractors

On September 5, 2019, the Massachusetts Department of Paid Family and Medical Leave issued new guidance on when workers who receive 1099-MISC forms will be included in a business’s workforce count under the Paid Family and Medical Leave Act (PFMLA). Prior guidance suggested that all individual 1099-MISC workers in Massachusetts that provided service to a company would be counted.… More