Important Upcoming Registration Deadline:  California employers with more than 100 employees are required to register (or certify as exempt) with the CalSavers Retirement Savings Program (CalSavers) by September 30, 2020 (the original deadline of June 30, 2020 was extended due to the COVID-19 pandemic).  The registration deadline for California employers with 100 employees or fewer will be phased-in over the next two years.  California employers with 51 to 100 employees are required to register by June 30, 2021, and those with 5 to 50 employees are required to register by June 30, 2022.  Businesses located in California may begin to receive notices from CalSavers to register or certify an exemption for the company.  The link to the CalSavers’ website to register or to claim exemption is https://employer.calsavers.com.
Continue Reading Important CalSavers Registration Deadlines for California Employers

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, reductions in hours, furloughs and temporary closures are becoming an increasingly common and unavoidable occurrence.  Employers can expect to encounter questions with respect to employee benefits offered to affected employees.  While the facts and circumstances of each case will vary, common themes exist, a few of which are mentioned below.
Continue Reading Critical Employee Benefit Issues in a Pandemic – Can Employees Take Their Money out of Plans?

The National Labor Relations Act (“NLRA”) is a federal law that applies to nearly all employers in the United States.  In the wake of COVID-19, there are numerous issues implicating the NLRA, including but not limited to employees engaging in protected concerted activities including work stoppages, the potential duty to bargain with unions concerning COVID-19 programs/policies, layoffs and plant closures in response to government directives and orders, union information requests, and union inspections.  The COVID-19 outbreak presents a virtually unprecedented situation for employers.  The appropriate responses to these issues depend on a variety of different factors, including the timing, specific employer, the particular industry involved, the employer’s collective bargaining agreement (“CBA”), and the status of guidance and orders from federal, state and local governments and agencies concerning COVID-19 (with guidance and recommendations not necessarily having the same weight as orders and laws).  Whereas a particular response may be appropriate for healthcare employers, airlines, employers in the supply chain, or employers impacted by “stay at home” orders (like in California), that same response may not be appropriate for other industries and employers.
Continue Reading Labor Issues Concerning COVID-19 and Government “Stay at Home” Orders

Update: This story has been updated to reflect the governor’s approval of the bill.

On March 18, 2020, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo passed a bill guaranteeing job-protection and pay for New Yorkers who have been quarantined as a result of COVID-19. The law is more narrow than the version Gov. Cuomo announced Tuesday, which included a statewide sick program that would have remained in effect beyond the COVID-19 pandemic. The provisions of the legislation are set to take effect immediately.

Continue Reading Empire State of Mind: Governor Cuomo Proposes Bill to Provide Immediate Assistance for New Yorkers Impacted by COVID-19

On February 17, 2017, D.C. passed the Universal Paid Leave Amendment Act of 2016.  Beginning July 1, 2020, the law provides the following government-administered paid leave to D.C. employees:

  • Up to 8 weeks per year to bond with a new child.
  • Up to 6 weeks per year to care for a family member with a serious health condition.
  • Up to 2 weeks per year to care for the employee’s own serious health condition.

As the regulations continue to be finalized, several employer obligations have already started.  All D.C. employers should immediately ensure that they are in full compliance with this new law.
Continue Reading D.C. Paid Leave is Coming: Are you Ready?

As peer-to-peer payment applications proliferate and on-demand technologies reach new facets of people’s lives, it is only natural that these programs now offer services geared particularly for employees. On-demand, daily pay apps, also known as “instant pay” or “earned wage access” are the outgrowth of two fundamental truths: (1) millions of Americans live paycheck to paycheck; and (2) employees perform their actual work and earn their actual wages up to two weeks before they receive their paychecks.

Instant pay apps offer to bridge the gap between when one’s expenses come due and one’s paycheck issues, by allowing employees to withdraw the wages they have already earned for work performed in a pay period, before the regular pay date. Hailed as a panacea by employees, who otherwise would be vulnerable to predatory payday loans, these instant pay apps unsurprisingly implicate multiple California wage and hour laws that an employer must comply with. As a result, employers considering rolling out these programs must carefully balance their potential legal risk against the benefit these apps offer employees, and should understand the potential protections available to an employer.
Continue Reading Pay Day, Every Day? Instant Pay Apps and Their Wage and Hour Implications

Ending a more than 15-year-long legal battle, the Fifth Circuit on May 24, 2019, unanimously affirmed the dismissal of a proposed class action against subsidiaries of UBS AG, alleging violations of U.S. securities laws for their role as a broker of Enron’s employee stock option plan and for failure to disclose material information about Enron’s “financial manipulations.” Lampkin et al. v. UBS PaineWebber Inc. et al., No. 17-20608 (5th Cir. May 24, 2019).
Continue Reading Fifth Circuit Affirms Enron Broker Not Liable to Employee Stock Option Holders for False or Withheld Information

Tax-exempt employers have a special opportunity to fix compliance concerns with their 403(b) retirement plans. They have through March 31, 2020 – the “Remedial Amendment Period” (RAP) – to retroactively self-correct compliance issues with their 403(b) plan documents, without going through the IRS’ more costly and time-consuming process that would normally be required. An overview of this opportunity is below.
Continue Reading For Tax-Exempt Employers: 403(b) Retirement Plan Compliance Opportunity

The legalization of recreational use of marijuana in several states, including California, has left many employment policies vague and confused. This article offers insights to questions every employer should be asking in light of legalization.

California’s Rollout of Legal Marijuana

California voters passed the Adult Use of Marijuana Act (“Prop 64”) on November 8, 2016, legalizing recreational marijuana use. However, the California Bureau of Cannabis Control only began accepting, processing, and issuing licenses to commercial marijuana dispensaries as of January 1, 2018. As of April 2018, the Bureau has granted over 5,000 licenses for a variety of commercial uses, including retail sales and distribution.
Continue Reading It’s High Time to Update Your Marijuana Policies

The Senate voted yesterday to begin formal negotiations with the House of Representatives to reconcile their two versions of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, a bill that seeks to make sweeping changes to federal tax law. Republicans are racing to enact a final bill before Christmas. Under both versions of the bill, tax-exempt organizations would face new burdens and taxes in order to pay for tax cuts elsewhere. In particular, the proposed changes would:

  1. make it harder for larger tax-exempt organizations to attract and retain top talent, by imposing a new 20% tax on annual compensation of over $1 million per year paid to any of their top 5 highest paid employees (including certain severance payments);
  2. reduce revenues, by eliminating certain tax incentives to make charitable donations;
  3. eliminate critical low-cost financing for hospitals and universities from tax-exempt bonds;
  4. make certain employee benefits more expensive, by taxing organizations that pay certain fringe benefits and taxing employees on certain employer-provided education and tuition assistance; and
  5. add new pressures on Section 501(c)(3) organizations to support or oppose political candidates, by loosening the current absolute prohibition against political activity.


Continue Reading Tax Reform: Nonprofits and their Executives Brace for Impact

As reported in our new laws for 2017 post, employers must give written notice to new employees (and to current employees upon request) explaining the rights of victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking. All California employers with at least 25 employees must be in compliance, effective July 1, 2017.
Continue Reading Now in Effect: California Employers Must Provide New Hires with Written Notice of Victim Rights