On April 6, 2018, the U.S. Department of Labor released a field assistance bulletin (FAB No. 2018-3) providing guidance concerning the Wage and Hour Division’s (WHD) enforcement of tip credit rules under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) after Congress amended the FLSA in the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2018 (act), Pub. L. No. 115-141, Div. S., Tit. XII, § 1201.
The act prohibits employers from keeping tips received by their employees, regardless of whether the employer takes a tip credit under 29 U.S.C. § 203(m). The act also provides that portions of the WHD’s regulations codified at 29 C.F.R. §§ 531.52, 531.54, and 531.59 that barred tip pooling when employers pay tipped employees at least the full FLSA minimum wage and do not claim a tip credit will have no further force or effect (until any future action by the WHD Administrator).
Read the bulletin
EEOC Releases New Guidance for Preventing Harassment
In April 2018, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) released a new guidance, Promising Practices for Preventing Harassment, identifying five core principles that have generally proven effective in preventing and addressing harassment:
- Committed and engaged leadership.
- Consistent and demonstrated accountability.
- Strong and comprehensive harassment policies.
- Trusted and accessible complaint procedures.
- Regular, interactive training tailored to the audience and the organization.
The promising practices identified in the guidance are not legal requirements under federal employment discrimination laws; however, according to the EEOC, they may enhance employers’ compliance efforts.
Read the guidance
IRS Releases Employer Credit for Paid Family and Medical Leave FAQs
In April 2018, the federal Internal Revenue Service (IRS) released frequently asked questions covering the § 45S employer credit for paid family and medical leave. The employer credit is a general business credit that employers may claim, based on wages paid to qualifying employees while they are on family and medical leave, subject to certain conditions.
The credit is a percentage of the amount of wages paid to a qualifying employee while on family and medical leave for up to 12 weeks per taxable year. The minimum percentage is 12.5 percent and is increased by 0.25 percent for each percentage point by which the amount paid to a qualifying employee exceeds 50 percent of the employee’s wages, with a maximum of 25 percent. In certain cases, an additional limit may apply.
The credit is generally effective for wages paid in taxable years of the employer beginning after December 31, 2017, and is not available for wages paid in taxable years beginning after December 31, 2019.
See the FAQs
DOL Releases New Opinion Letters and Fact Sheet
In April 2018, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) released three new opinion letters on the following topics:
- Compensability of frequent rest breaks required by a serious health condition and the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Rest breaks to accommodate an employee’s serious health condition that predominantly benefit the employee are not compensable.
- Compensability of travel time and the FLSA.
- Lump-sum payments and earnings under the garnishment provisions of the federal Consumer Credit Protection Act (CCPA).
In March 2018, the DOL also released Fact Sheet 17(s): Higher Education Institutions and Overtime Pay Under the FLSA, addressing white collar exemptions and their applicability to jobs that are common in higher education institutions.