As we reported recently, the Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD), which among its responsibilities enforces the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), has been focused primarily on crafting regulations to implement the new paid leave programs enacted as part of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, educating employers about the two new laws’ requirements, and initiating enforcement actions. In addition, WHD has established a dedicated webpage COVID-19 and the American Workplace, that provides guidance related to the new paid leave programs, including fact sheets, required postings, and a pre-recorded webinar.
Worth pointing out, the webpage also includes links to additional guidance on the coronavirus outbreak, including compliance guidance on the FLSA and the FMLA that serves as a reminder that employers must continue to comply with these laws even in the context of significant changes that may be taking place within their workplaces in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
Along these lines, WHD recently issued a trio of FLSA opinion letters focused on the types of payments made to employees that can be excluded from the so-called “regular rate” as a result of the revisions to the regular rate regulations promulgated by WHD last year. In the first letter, WHD addresses if bonuses paid to employees based upon their length of service, known as longevity bonuses, can be excluded from the regular rate for purposes of calculating any overtime entitlement. In the second letter, WHD provides guidance on how an organization must treat its referral bonuses with respect to the regular rate. Lastly, in the third letter, WHD addresses whether taxable income as required by the Internal Revenue Code must be included in the regular rate when calculating any overtime entitlement.
Members of the Center for Workplace Compliance (CWC) can read more here.