DOL today published an opinion letter clarifying that employers don’t need to pay truck drivers for the time they spend sleeping.
Although many drivers sleep in truck berths provided by their employer, DOL said the drivers need not be paid unless they’re on call to work. The opinion was issued at the request of a family-owned, long-haul trucking company.
“The driver’s time spent in the berth was time when the driver was relieved of all duties and was ‘permitted to sleep in adequate facilities furnished by the employer,’ and presumptively non-working, off-duty time,” DOL’s Wage and Hour Division wrote in a letter.
Under former Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta, DOL resumed the practice of issuing opinion letters based on questions from employers, often as a way of loosening regulations without going through the formal process. While letters do not remove regulations, they send signals to businesses about DOL’s interpretation of the law.
Many thanks to LLAC member Clyde Jacob, and his colleagues at the COATS|ROSE law firm, Walter W. Christy and Amanda Wingfield Goldman for sharing this news about changes in Federal Labor Law posters.
Giving employers just mere days to comply, the Department of Labor (“DOL”) recently revised its Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) and Employee Polygraph Protection Act (“EPPA”) posters on July 28. This change is effective as of August 1, 2016.
The EPPA poster contains very few changes, the most significant of which is a deletion of the $10,000 monetary penalty limit in the enforcement section.
The FLSA poster contains a new section regarding an employer’s requirements for nursing mothers. The FLSA mandates that employers provide a reasonable break time for employees who are nursing mothers who are subject to FLSA’s overtime requirements. This break time is to allow the employee to express breast milk for her nursing child for up to one year after the child’s birth each time the employee has a need to express breast milk. The employer must provide a place, other than a bathroom, which is shielded from view and free from intrusion by co-workers and the public, for the employee to express breast milk.
The FLSA poster now includes a warning to employees regarding an employer’s possible incorrect classification of an employee as an independent contractor, and the distinction regarding the
minimum wage and overtime protections of the FLSA which extend to employees.
The FLSA poster also revised its enforcement provisions, which clarified the DOL’s authority to recover back wages, liquidated damages, to litigate, and/or recommend criminal prosecution. The
DOL, as with the EPPA poster, removed the limits of civil monetary penalties for minimum wage, overtime, and child labor violations.
You can find the updated FLSA poster on the DOL’s website at https://www.dol.gov/whd/regs/compliance/posters/eppa.htm and the EPPA poster
I’ve been in Washington DC for the past few days attending the SHRM Legislative and Employment Law Conference where they’ve been sharing some great information. Out of all the subjects we’ve been hearing about, the DOL Overtime rule changes has dominated the hallway discussions all week. So you can only imagine what the hallways sounded like at the Renaissance hotel when this SHRM tweet made the rounds.
BREAKING: DOL sends #overtime rule to OMB for review–our coverage, links to more info: https://t.co/zHk0bn5KPm #SHRMLeg @SHRM @SHRMATeam
— SHRM HR News (@SHRMHRNews) March 15, 2016
The Government Affairs team at SHRM shared in a briefing given on Sunday that there might be an earlier than planned release of the proposed regulations to OMB as part of a complicated political process related to rule-making that gets further complicated by the fact that is a presidential election year. Many in the business community are very concerned about this status, fearing that DOL has implemented the new rules without taking the time to properly analyze the impact of the rule on the economy, and especially on small business owners.
Members of Congress opposed to the new standard have indicated that they will attempt to utilize the Congressional Review Act to revoke the new DOL standard if and when it was issued. Assuming they can muster the votes to do so, and assuming they could override a veto, this would effectively prevent implementation of the proposed standard and force the entire process to start over again.
Politico Morning Shift ran some good coverage on the potential challenge this morning.
The proposed overtime rule, published in the Federal Register last July, would raise to $50,440 the salary threshold under which virtually all workers are guaranteed time-and-a-half pay — more than double the current threshold of $23,660. That’s a fairly dramatic change, and it seems likely Congress will take a run at blocking it.
Read more: http://www.politico.com/tipsheets/morning-shift#ixzz430B2Is1P
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As always, the roller coaster ride continues, with the Persuader rules expected to follow soon. CUE members can still register for our Persuader webinar on March 18th. Join Phil Wilson of LRI and LLAC Attorney Doug Seaton for a webinar covering the information CUE members will need in preparing for the DOL Persuader Rules. Register here!