California is known as one of the most progressive, pro-employee states in the country. But if the last several months are any indication, Illinois is quickly catching up.

Here’s a quick overview of what’s happening in the prairie state:

Illinois Wage Payment and Collection Act   

What’s New? As of January 1, 2019, employers must reimburse employees for all “necessary” expenses. So what’s a necessary expense? Anything required of the employee in the discharge of his/her employment duties that “inure to the primary benefit of the employer.” Computers, cell phones, uniforms, etc. may all constitute “necessary” expenses that the employer is required to reimburse.

Takeaway: Employers should review their policies, job descriptions, and third party contracts to determine which positions/roles may result in necessary expenditures.


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On June 10, 2019, the United States Supreme Court unanimously held that state law does not apply to the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) in situations when federal law addresses the relevant issue at hand.

In Parker Drilling Management Services, Ltd. v. Newton, the Supreme Court declined to extend California’s wage and hour laws to employees working on offshore drilling platforms subject to the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act.

The OCSLA extends federal law to the subsoil and seabed of the outer continental shelf and to all structures permanently or temporarily attached to the seabed for the purpose of developing, producing or exploring for oil. Under the OCSLA, the laws of an adjacent state only apply to the OCS to the extent “they are applicable and not inconsistent with” federal law.

Here, the US Supreme Court ruled that because the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) addressed the relevant issues, the adjacent state law was inapplicable.


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On May 14, the European Court of Justice ruled that Member States are required to impose an obligation on employers to establish an objective, reliable and accessible system that keeps a daily record of the hours worked. However, Member States have some discretion as to the system that is used to record working time, which

Hiring Entity:  When are gig workers employees?

Four Government Agencies & Courts:  It depends!

Trying to track the employment status of gig workers will make your head spin. Contractors? Employees? Super heroes?

In the last few weeks, four federal and California state agencies and courts — the US Department of Labor, the National Labor Relations Board, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and the California Labor Commissioner — have all weighed in on the debate. And, the answer is — it depends.

Follow our script below to help make sense of the patchy legal landscape.


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On April 1, the US Department of Labor proposed a new rule seeking to narrow the application of joint employer status under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). A finding of joint employer status can impose joint and several liability on a business along with the hiring employer for the employee’s wages. By narrowing the test, the proposal brings potential good news to franchise businesses in particular.

The proposal outlines a “four-factor balancing test” for the Department to apply collectively in its assessment of whether a business is a joint employer with another.


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Last month, we reported that a federal court in Washington D.C. lifted the government’s stay of the revised EEO-1 form that requires companies to submit summary wage data by race/ethnicity and gender. Following the court’s order, uncertainty loomed concerning whether employers would need to include the additional data by the current EEO-1 Report deadline

On March 28, 2019, the US Department of Labor announced a proposed rule to clarify that certain types of compensation and benefits can be excluded from an employee’s “regular rate” of pay, which is used to calculate overtime under the FLSA. This announcement follows the DOL’s recent proposal to increase the minimum salary requirements for the FLSA’s white-collar overtime exemptions, continuing the DOL’s efforts to update and modernize FLSA regulations.

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With thanks to our colleague Lois Rodriquez (Baker McKenzie Spain)

Last month, the Spanish government passed several bills that will impact all companies with headcount in Spain – regardless of their size. These changes relate to gender equality plans, and the obligation for all companies to maintain daily records of employee work hours, including the specific beginning and ending times of each employee’s working day.
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Employers may be required to disclose aggregate pay data in their annual EEO-1 filings as early as May 31, 2019.

On March 4, 2019, a federal court in Washington D.C. lifted the Office of Management and Budget’s (OMB) stay of the revised EEO-1 form that requires companies to submit summary wage data by race/ethnicity and gender. While we expect there may be further challenges and/or delays to the implementation of the revised EEO-1 form, taking a conservative approach means that companies should plan as though they need to report pay data by the current May 31, 2019 deadline.


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For 15 years, the minimum salary threshold required for US workers to qualify for the Fair Labor Standards Act’s “white-collar” exemptions has been $23,660 per year.

On March 7, 2019, the Department of Labor issued a new overtime proposal increasing that minimum salary threshold to $35,308 per year. The DOL estimates the new rule will take effect in January 2020.


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