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Posts by Robert A. Boonin

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Showing 29 posts by Robert A. Boonin.

Final Countdown to Comply with Michigan’s Paid Medical Leave Act: Are Your Policies and Postings Ready?

The new Michigan Paid Medical Leave Act soon becomes effective—on March 29, 2019. By then, employers employing 50 or more employees must have policies in place allowing employees to use up to 40 hours of paid time for various specified reasons. See our prior eAlert on the topic for details.  Read More ›

DOL Finally Proposes New White Collar Exemption Regulations

The much awaited revised new regulations governing who qualifies for the FLSA white collar exemption has finally been revealed by the Department of Labor. It did so on March 8 by publishing an NPRM (“Notice of Proposed Rule Making”). In December of 2016, a Texas federal court entered a nationwide injunction halting the implementation of new regulations which would have dramatically increased the salary threshold for exempting most white collar employees from overtime. Since then, the White House changed occupants and the Department has been deliberating on how to respond to the injunction. After considering responses to information requests from stakeholders on possible directions to take, and a round of “listening sessions” held across the country, the Department has finally spoken.

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Michigan Legislature Amends State Minimum Wage and Paid Sick Leave Acts

On December 4, 2018, the Michigan Legislature pared back the minimum wage and paid sick leave laws it passed last September in an effort to preclude those issues from being on the November ballot. Had the Legislature not adopted the language of the ballot initiatives legislation, the measures would have been on the November ballot and it would have needed a vote of three-fourths of each house to amend the law if adopted by the voters. By enacting the proposals directly, it only needed a simple majority to amend those laws. The strategy of using a lame-duck legislative session to amend the laws by a simple majority it passed just two months earlier has been viewed as controversial, but the outcome is welcomed by many in the business community. Read More ›

Michigan Legislature Adopts Minimum Wage Increases and Paid Sick Leave: Political Poker Is Alive and Well in Michigan

After various court battles, two ballot initiatives were set to be on the November ballot for voter consideration. If passed, one would have increased the state minimum wage and the other would have required employers to provide sick leave to employees. Under Michigan law, though, the Legislature is permitted the opportunity to foreclose the issues from appearing on the ballot by adopting those initiatives through legislation.

Even though the Republican majority of both houses appeared philosophically opposed to the initiatives, on September 5 both houses voted to adopt both of them. Ironically, even though the Democratic minority appeared anxious to have the initiatives on the ballot, most Democrats voted against their adoption by the Legislature. Read More ›

Clarity on Legality of Work Rules Under NLRA has Arrived!

Last month, in an effort to clarify what types of employee handbook rules are lawful under the National Labor Relations Act (“NLRA”), the General Counsel of the National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB”) issued new Guidance on the topic. Determining which rules are permissible and which may violate the NLRA has troubled both union and non-union employers in recent years due to the Obama-era NLRB’s tendency to find that standard handbook rules (e.g. those on basic civility, insubordination, confidentiality, etc.) violate employees’ rights to engage in “concerted activity” for “mutual aid and protection” under Section 7 of the NLRA. Read More ›

Supreme Court Strikes “Knock-Down Blow” to Public Sector Unions

For about six years the writing was on the wall; the U.S. Supreme Court was anxiously awaiting the opportunity to reconsider its now 41-year old ruling allowing public sector unions to require non-union members to pay them “agency” or “fair-share” fees. Today, the Supreme Court has spoken: agency fee arrangements are allowed no more. Read More ›

The DOL’s Wage & Hour Division “Dusts-Off” Shelved Opinion Letters

In 2009, shortly after the prior administration first took office, it pulled-back 17 Wage & Hour Opinion Letters that were finalized near the end of the Bush Administration. On January 5, 2018, the DOL republished all of those Opinion Letters, and by doing so, the DOL has firmly gotten back into the Opinion Letter business. Read More ›

The New NLRB Takes Major Swings at "Obama Board" Initiatives

Last week was anything but dull at the National Labor Relations Board. The Board only recently shifted from having a Democratic majority under President Obama to a Republican majority under President Trump, and a new General Counsel has just been appointed. Further, the Chair appointed by President Trump, Philip Miscimarra, left the Board this past Saturday. Chairman Miscimarra—who was a Republican member of the Obama Board—was a major dissenter with respect to many initiatives of the Obama Board, initiatives which not only caused considerable consternation among those in the business community, but also reversed legal doctrines that had been in place for decades. Based on what happened last week, it appears that the sun, the moon and the stars are aligned to have many of those developments neutralized and have the law return to its prior and long-established norm. Read More ›

New FLSA Regulations Dealt a Knock-Out Blow

As we reported in November 2016, a federal court issued a preliminary injunction halting the implementation of the proposed changes to the FLSA’s overtime exemptions just before they were to take effect on December 1. On August 31, 2017, the same court issued another decision definitively holding that the Department of Labor exceeded its authority in issuing those regulations and thereby permanently enjoining them. In doing so, the court clarified its prior holding and gave the new Administration a clear license to go back to the drawing board and draft new regulations consistent with the underlying law. Read More ›

Is “Comp-Time” in the Private Sector Just Over the Horizon?

Earlier this week, the U.S. House of Representatives passed, by a 229-197 margin, the Working Families Flexibility Act (HR 1180). The Act, if passed by the Senate and signed by the President, will introduce the concept of “compensatory time” (a/k/a “comp-time”) to the private sector workplace. Under the Fair Labor Standards Act, comp-time has existed in the public sector for many decades, but absent the passage of this Act, it is not permissible in the private sector. Read More ›