Overtime Rule Struck Down
On August 31, 2017, Federal District Court Judge Amos Mazzant overturned the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) final overtime rule that would have doubled the annual salary level to qualify for exemption from overtime pay, raising it from $23,660 to $47,476. Mazzant issued an injunction stopping implementation of the final rule nine months ago, and the Trump administration didn't challenge the decision.
While this means that the rule, in its current format, is all but dead, the Department of Labor (DOL) did seek comments earlier this year on amending the rule. Therefore, employers need to be aware that a revised rule may be forthcoming. Additionally, this decision doesn’t affect the current duties test for “white collar” overtime exemptions; so employers should continue to monitor employees and determine eligibility for these exemptions.
IRS Confirms ACA Mandate Penalties Still Effective
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Office of Chief Counsel recently issued several informative letters regarding the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) individual and employer mandate penalties.
These letters clarify that:
- Employer-shared responsibility penalties continue to apply for applicable large employers (ALEs) that fail to offer acceptable health coverage to their full-time employees (and dependents); and
- Individual mandate penalties continue to apply for individuals who don’t obtain acceptable health coverage (if they do not qualify for an exemption).
These letters were issued in response to confusion over President Donald Trump’s executive order directing federal agencies to provide relief from the burdens of the ACA.
Updated Form I-9 Required Beginning September 18
On July 17, 2017, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, issued an updated version of Form I-9: Employment Eligibility Verification. Under federal law, every employer that recruits, refers for a fee or hires an individual for employment in the United States must complete a Form I-9.
The updated form replaces a version that was issued in 2016. Employers may continue using the 2016 form until September 17, 2017. Exclusive use of the updated form is required by September 18, 2017. The new form expires on August 31, 2019.
The updated Form I-9 includes revisions to the instructions and to the list of acceptable documents, but does not include substantive revisions for completing the form. Visit the USCIS website for more information.
DOL Potentially Delays Implementation of Final Fiduciary Rule Provisions for 18 Months
The DOL is proposing to extend the January 1, 2018 applicability date for the remaining portions of its fiduciary rule to give the Trump administration more time to decide what it will ultimately do with the rule. In particular, this additional year of transition should give the DOL and the White House a more reasonable amount of time to consider the vast amount of industry commentary submitted in response to President Donald Trump’s request for information about the initial and potential impacts of the updated fiduciary rule.
“The primary purpose of the proposed amendments is to give the [DOL] the time necessary to consider possible changes and alternatives to these exemptions,” the agency wrote in the proposal. “The department is particularly concerned that, without a delay in the applicability dates, regulated parties may incur undue expense to comply with conditions or requirements that it ultimately determines to revise or repeal.” Additionally, it will give the DOL time to coordinate its efforts with the Securities and Exchange Commission and its new leadership.