Court Expedites Appeal of Overtime Rule Injunction
A federal appeals court will review the temporary injunction blocking new overtime regulations on an expedited schedule that wraps things up even faster than the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) had requested. But it still won’t reach a decision until after President-elect Donald Trump’s inauguration, and that could mean the end of the overtime rule, according to some experts.
The U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals granted the DOL’s motion for expedited review December 8. The court scheduled most briefing deadlines as the DOL had requested, but it slated final briefs for January 31 rather than the proposed February 7.
That still puts the court’s decision after the inauguration, and some experts have suggested that a Trump DOL would drop the appeal. Michelle Lee Flores, a member of Cozen O’Connor and a contributor to California Employment Law Letter, says that’s a real possibility.
If the DOL dropped the appeal, it would be up to the lower court to decide whether to issue a permanent injunction and kill the rules for good. Based on the judge’s strong language-he called the rule “unlawful”-experts have said he’d likely go through with it.
We will continue to update you as this story develops.
The Importance of Understanding Your Employee’s Duties
A recent $6 million wage and hour settlement serves as a reminder that it’s always important to pay attention to your employees’ duties. And the stakes may be even higher in the future, according to one expert.
A federal district court judge approved the multimillion-dollar settlement between PNC and its assistant branch managers November 29. The managers had alleged in a lawsuit that their primary duties rendered them ineligible for any of the Fair Labor Standards Act’s (FLSA) white-collar exemptions. They spent the vast majority of their time working as tellers and performing customer service tasks, according to the complaint.
PNC, however, classified them as exempt and did not pay them overtime for hours worked beyond 40 in a workweek. The employer maintained that the classification was correct but, a few months after the court conditionally certified a nationwide class of managers, it settled the case.
PNC agreed to pay $6 million to more than 600 managers to resolve the claim (Briggs v. PNC Financial Services Group, Inc., No. 1:15-cv-10447 (N.D. Ill, Nov. 29, 2016)). Read more here.
American Express to Give Employees 20 Weeks Paid Leave
Life is about to get a lot better for new parents who work for American Express.
The financial-services giant on Monday announced all of its U.S.-based regular full-time and part-time employees will be eligible for 20 weeks of paid parental leave starting in 2017 – as well as a bevy of enhanced employee benefits for fertility, surrogacy and adoption.
The announcement from American Express comes just one week after a similar move by Ikea. The furniture retailer said Tuesday it will provide up to four months of paid parental leave for all U.S. employees – salaried and hourly workers, mothers and fathers, and adoptive and foster parents. Starting Jan. 1, Ikea employees who have been with the company for a year will get six weeks of leave at full pay, followed by six weeks at half pay. Workers who have been with the company for three years will be eligible for eight weeks at full pay, followed by eight weeks at half pay.
According to new research from the Society of Human Resource Management, leave is one of the top-rated employee benefits by workers. Because of that fact, more than one-third of HR professionals told SHRM they altered their leave benefits in the past 12 months to aid in retention and attraction efforts.
“As the war for talent wages on, employers will need not only to ensure that they are strategically utilizing benefits to secure talent, but that employees understand the value of their benefits package,” says Evren Esen, SHRM’s director of workforce analytics. “Healthcare, retirement and leave benefits are all highly valued by employees, so bolstering these benefits could go a long way in recruiting new employees and retaining existing ones.”