Last week, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division issued an Opinion Letter in which it stated that an employer may not delay the designation of leave qualifying under the Family and Medical Leave Act, even if the affected employee would prefer not to take FMLA leave, and employers may not designate more than 12 weeks of leave as FMLA leave. Continue Reading Department Of Labor Says That FMLA Leave Cannot Be Deferred

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Yesterday, President Trump unveiled his new budget plan.  Along with controversial plans to fund construction of a wall on the southern border and to cut funding for Medicare and Medicaid, the budget also includes a proposal for paid parental leave.

President Trump’s daughter Ivanka has been advocating for federal paid parental leave since the beginning of the administration in 2017.  And the president touted the idea during his State of the Union address in February.

President Trump’s plan would provide six weeks of paid leave to new mothers and fathers, including adoptive parents, to recover from childbirth and to bond with a new child.  The plan would be administered at the state level, and is anticipated to be offered through programs based on unemployment insurance.

Continue Reading President Trump’s Budget Includes a Proposal for Paid Parental Leave

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On March 7, 2019 the NH Supreme Court ruled that an employee’s worker’s compensation carrier was wrong to deny reimbursement for the cost of medical marijuana to an employee recovering from a work related injury.  The employee, Andrew Panaggio, suffered a lower back injury in 1991.  He received a lump sum settlement for permanent impairment in 1997 and continued to experience pain as a result of the injury.  He experienced negative side effects from prescribed opioids and was issued a NH cannabis registration card approving him for the use of medical marijuana in 2016.  He purchased the marijuana and then sought reimbursement from the worker’s compensation carrier which denied payment stating that “medical marijuana is not reasonable/necessary or causally related” to the injury.

Continue Reading NH Supreme Court Rules That Worker’s Compensation Carrier May be Required to Reimburse for Medical Marijuana

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Yesterday, the U.S. Department of Labor released its long-awaited updated overtime rule proposal.  Under the proposed rule, the minimum salary level at which an employee can be exempted from federal overtime and minimum wage requirements (assuming other criteria are met) would increase from $455 per week ($23,660 annually) to $679 per week ($35,308 annually).  If enacted, more than a million more workers would become eligible for overtime under the proposed rule.

Continue Reading Department of Labor Releases Updated Overtime Proposed Rule Raising the Salary Level for Overtime Exemption

A bill recently filed in the Massachusetts House of Representatives, if passed, would prohibit discrimination on the basis of height and weight.  The proposed legislation would add height and weight to the list of protected classes covered by the Commonwealth’s antidiscrimination law (G.L. Chapter 151B) and public accommodation laws (G.L. Chapter 272, Sections 92A and 98).

Continue Reading Will Massachusetts Outlaw Discrimination Based on Height and Weight?

On February 1, 2019 the Keene Sentinel reported that a Massachusetts construction company had been hit with more than $64,000 in fines after an audit conducted by the New Hampshire Department of Labor. Although the bulk of the fines were related to the misclassification of employees as independent contractors, there were also a number of recordkeeping violations found.

The Keene Sentinel article devotes significant attention to the problems of trying to classify individuals as independent contractors under NH state law, a very difficult burden to meet. The result of the audit and the fines imposed on the business, however, showcase how difficult it is for businesses who typically do not operate in a state to establish a workforce there and be in compliance with state laws.

Continue Reading Trials of Massachusetts Company Building Keene Hotel Signals Warning to Businesses with Multi-State Workforces

In the United States, certain religious schools are legally permitted to limit or discontinue student enrollment if:

the atmosphere or conduct within a particular home, the activities of a parent or guardian, or the activities of the student are counter to, or are in opposition to, the biblical lifestyle the school teaches. This includes, but is not limited to contumacious behavior, divisive conduct, and participating in, supporting, or condoning sexual immorality, homosexual activity or bi-sexual activity, promoting such practices, or being unable to support the moral principles of the school. (Lev. 20:13 and Romans 1:27.)

Continue Reading The Most Famous Elementary School Art Teacher in the United States and What She Has to Teach us About Discrimination

Although the government shutdown appears to be over, at least temporarily, businesses will need to deal with the aftermath of the lengthy shutdown.  One of the many unintended, and perhaps unforeseen, consequences of the shutdown was its impact on federal tax collection efforts.  During the shutdown, Internal Revenue Service Revenue Officers who handle collection matters were deemed non-essential and furloughed.  Although in-person collection activity ceased, automated collection activity did not.  This created the possibility that an individual or business taxpayer could receive computer generated Notice of Intent to Levy during the shutdown.  A Notice of Intent to Levy generally provides a taxpayer thirty days to respond, after which period the IRS can levy assets.  Given the length of the shutdown, a Notice of Intent to Levy could have been issued and have expired, or be ready to expire, while the shutdown continued.  While it may require a human being to send out a levy notice, now that the shutdown has ended there will be officials at the IRS who can issue actual levies.  Now that the shutdown is over, it remains to be seen if the IRS can react quickly enough to stop levy activity on all the accounts that received automated Notices during the shutdown.  If your business receives a Levy Notice shortly after the shutdown, for your own account or for assets payable to an employee, it might be worth some follow up before submitting requested payment to the Internal Revenue Service.  Note though, that without evidence that a Levy Notice has been withdrawn, compliance is required.

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New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is proposing a measure, which, if passed, would make the Big Apple the first place in the nation to require private-sector employers to provide paid vacation to employees.  The details of the plan have not yet been released, but the New York Times is reporting that the law would require private employers with five or more employees to provide at least two weeks of paid vacation.  City Hall officials have estimated that approximately half a million NYC workers would benefit from the new law.

Continue Reading NYC Mayor Proposes Mandatory Paid Vacation for Private-Sector Workers