Ninth Circuit Upholds Federal Preemption of California’s Meal and Rest Break Laws for Interstate Commercial Drivers

In one of the year’s most anticipated court decisions for the trucking industry, International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Local 2785, et al. v. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, No. 19-70413 (January 15, 2021), the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit upheld a Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) ruling that federal rest break regulations preempted California’s meal and rest break rules, as applied to drivers of property-carrying commercial motor vehicles.

California Court of Appeal Analyzes ‘Salary’ Test Under Administrative Exemption

Under California law, an employee is exempt from California’s overtime requirements and other wage and hour laws if the person is employed in an administrative capacity. To meet this exemption, California’s wage orders and the California Labor Code provide that an employee must perform certain job duties and be paid a monthly salary equivalent to at least twice the state minimum wage for full-time employment. Neither the Labor Code nor the wage orders define what constitutes a “salary” or what it means for an employee to be paid on a salary basis for the purposes of the exemption. A recent California Court of Appeal decision, however, sheds some light on the issue.

DOL Closes Out 2020 by Issuing Travel Time and Live-In Home Health Care Worker Opinion Letters

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) issued two Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) opinion letters on December 31, 2020. One of those letters addresses travel time that occurs when employees schedule personal appointments during the workday and perform portions of their work remotely. The other addresses compensation arrangements for live-in home health care workers whose shifts may extend beyond 24 hours.

Mexico Approves Increases to Daily Minimum Wages for 2021

On December 16, 2020, the Mexican National Commission on Minimum Wages (Comisión Nacional de los Salarios Mínimos or CONASAMI) approved, by majority vote, a general increase to the daily minimum wage, including an increase to the minimum daily wage in the Free Zone of the North Border (Zona Libre de la Frontera Norte or ZLFN)—an area that comprises cities along or near the U.S. border. Also, on December 23, 2020, CONASAMI published the corresponding decree in the Official Gazette of the Federation.

Making Sense of Colorado’s New Wage and Hour and Paid Sick Leave Rulemaking

Back in January, management-side labor and employment lawyers in Colorado thought the biggest wage and hour compliance issue for 2020 would be limited to ensuring clients were up to date on the expanded meal and rest break requirements of the Colorado Overtime and Minimum Pay Standards Order #36 (COMPS #36). What has transpired in the months since then has been truly dizzying: a barrage of legal and regulatory developments ranging from drastically overhauled COMPS exemptions to an entirely new paid sick leave requirement. Considering the pace at which these changes have progressed, it is possible that by the time this article is published, new rulemaking or guidance will have taken us in a different direction, but the following are some of the most important wage compliance issues to consider for Colorado employers as the new year looms.

California’s New AB 1512 Revises Security Officer Rest Period Rules

On September 30, 2020, Governor Gavin Newsom signed Assembly Bill (AB) 1512, which amends California Labor Code Section 226.7 by authorizing employers to require certain unionized private security officers “to remain on the premises during rest periods and to remain on call, and carry and monitor a communication device, during rest periods.”

AB 2257 Enacts Significant Changes to AB 5 on Classification of Workers as Independent Contractors

California’s statute governing the classification of independent contractors, enacted under Assembly Bill (AB) 5, underwent a significant renovation on September 4, 2020, when Governor Gavin Newsom signed AB 2257. The emergency measure, which takes effect immediately, contains several new exemptions and revises existing law related to exemptions for business-to-business relationships, referral agencies, professional services, and performance artists, among others.

Pennsylvania’s New Overtime Salary Thresholds Take Effect

The Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry’s (DLI) amendments to the regulations that exempt executive, administrative, and professional (so-called “white collar”) salaried workers from overtime requirements under the Pennsylvania Minimum Wage Act of 1968 (PMWA) went into effect on October 3, 2020. The amended regulations were originally approved on January 31, 2020.

Employers, Don’t Let Your Guard Down: COVID-19–Related Employment Lawsuits Are in Full Swing

We previously reported on COVID-19–related employment lawsuits that we tracked from late March 2020 through early May 2020. Since then, the number of lawsuits has steadily risen as employers have resumed operations after shelter-in-place or stay-at-home orders were lifted and students returned to school in virtual or hybrid environments. To track this litigation and to identify trends, we developed an Interactive COVID-19 Litigation Tracker that details where COVID-19–related litigation is taking place by state, the industries affected, and the types of claims asserted against employers and educational institutions.

20 Tips for U.S. Virgin Islands Employers in 2020: Compensating Hourly Employees for Regular and Overtime Hours

Conducting business in the U.S. Virgin Islands poses unique challenges not often encountered in the states, but also unique opportunities. This 20-part series offers tips for doing business in the U.S. Virgin Islands, covering a broad array of topics affecting employers. Part 10 of this series addresses the laws relevant to tracking hours worked and compensating hourly employees for regular and overtime hours.

First Circuit Holds FAA Does Not Drive Independent Contractors’ Class Action Wage Claims Case

Recently, and for the first time in more than 20 years, the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit ruled on the transportation worker exemption contained in Section 1 of the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA). In Waithaka v. Amazon.com, Inc., 966 F.3d 10 (1st Cir. 2020), the court of appeals upheld a district court’s decision not to compel Amazon “AmFlex” delivery drivers (who are independent contractors) to arbitrate their wage claims. The decision is significant for companies that require their delivery drivers to sign arbitration agreements.

DOL Provides Insight Into the FLSA’s ‘Retail or Service Establishment’ Exemption, Opening the Door for Broader Application

On August 31, 2020, the Wage and Hour Division of the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) issued four opinion letters, one of which, Opinion Letter FLSA2020-11, addressed whether certain employees in the oilfield services industry were exempt from the overtime requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The specific question answered by the DOL in FLSA2020-11 involved truck drivers of an oilfield waste-removal company and the “retail or service establishment” overtime exemption of the FLSA (29 U.S.C. § 207(i), better known as the “Section 7(i) exemption”).

Take a Break! Georgia Amends Its Lactation Break Law

The state of Georgia has had a lactation break law on the books for quite some time, but with House Bill 1090 the legislature made some important changes, effective August 5, 2020. As most employers know, the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) provides lactation break requirements for employers, so there has not been a lot of focus on Georgia’s state counterpart, which was merely permissive. That is until now. The Georgia amendment has beefed up the statute in a few notable ways.

Ninth Circuit Gives California Employers a Break in Defending Rest Period Claims

In Davidson v. O’Reilly Auto Enterprises, LLC, No. 18-56188 (August 3, 2020), the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals addressed whether a district court abused its discretion in denying class certification for an employee’s claim for improper rest breaks under California law where the employer allegedly had a facially defective written rest break policy.

U.S. Department of Labor Issues New Guidance on Remote Work

The COVID-19 pandemic has led to a transformation of the workplace and an explosion of remote work, including for employees previously not covered under employers’ telecommuting policies. Despite the reopening of most state economies, many employers are continuing to allow their workforces to work remotely. Remote work by nonexempt employees can pose a challenge with regard to ensuring employees are paid for all time worked, as the traditional workday may be blurred in a remote environment. On August 24, 2020, the U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) Wage and Hour Division issued Field Assistance Bulletin (FAB) No. 2020-5 regarding employers’ obligations to use reasonable diligence in tracking remote employees’ hours. The guidance affirms the value of a clear system for reporting time and a requirement that employees promptly and accurately report their time—especially in a remote work environment.

San Francisco Issues Guidance on COVID-19 ‘Temporary Right to Reemployment’ Ordinance

On August 7, 2020, the San Francisco Office of Economic and Workforce Development (OEWD) published guidance regarding the City of San Francisco’s “Temporary Right to Reemployment Following Layoff Due to COVID-19 Pandemic Emergency Ordinance.” Also known as the “Back to Work” emergency ordinance, the ordinance took effect on July 3, 2020, requiring San Francisco employers with 100 or more employees to offer reemployment to eligible employees laid off because of the COVID-19 pandemic when the employers rehire for the same or similar job classifications.

The 2020-2021 Virtual School Year: 20 Tips for Employers of Parents During the Pandemic

How can employers assist working parents during the fall school year? This is one of the top questions on the minds of management and employees as the fall school year begins. Based on data from the U.S. Department of Labor, it is estimated that 41 percent of workers between the ages of 20 and 54 have a child at home. It is also estimated that single parents make up approximately 30 percent of the workforce.