Wage and Hour Law and Practice

While we are still in the first half of 2022, it has already been a busy year in terms of labor and employment developments for government contractors. For any companies doing work for the federal government, whether as prime contractors or as subcontractors, it can be challenging to keep up with the perpetually changing requirements, particularly when the changes occur this quickly.

These rapid-fire changes have introduced some onerous requirements with potentially very significant impacts. Just in the past few months, President Biden has issued Executive Orders (EOs) that:

  • Directs an almost 50% increase in the minimum wage government contractors must pay their employees under a number of types of contracts.
  • Mandates the use of union labor on large federal construction projects.
  • Reinstitutes the requirement that federal contractors offer the right of first refusal to qualified service personnel who worked on predecessor contracts.


Continue Reading Government Contracts Labor & Employment Developments – Part 1

The past few years have been unprecedented for everyone, but employers have faced particular challenges in trying to keep their employees healthy and able to continue working while simultaneously navigating a significant amount of new – and often confusing – legislation, mandates, and executive orders. Due to these challenges, the focus on best practices for day-to-day management of employees has fallen by the wayside for many employers. However, as we approach the two-year mark since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic and are beginning to see some light at the end of the pandemic tunnel, now is a great time for employers to revisit these best practices that will enable them to better manage their workforces and reduce the risk of employment-related litigation.

Education through Training

Educating employees through a well-developed training program is one of the best investments that employers can make in their workplaces, particularly in light of the current enforcement environment. The Department of Labor (DOL), the National Labor Relations Board  (NLRB) and the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) are making concerted efforts to share information and work together, which requires employers to be very proactive in managing potential employee issues. The most effective way to do so is by providing training for all employees. Although the federal equal employment opportunity laws do not require employers to conduct anti-harassment/anti-discrimination training, several states and municipalities require and/or encourage training. Training is a great way to reinforce a company’s culture, establish clear expectations, and to educate all employees about acceptable conduct, work rules, and consequences for non-compliance with those rules. Training is also beneficial from a legal perspective to establish an affirmative defense in defending harassment lawsuits. Employers must take reasonable care to prevent harassment from occurring in their workplaces. This requires employers to have policies in place designed to prevent harassment, and courts also look at whether employers conduct anti-harassment training and the frequency and effectiveness of that training.

Continue Reading Best Practices for Proactively Managing Workplace Issues and Minimizing the Risk of Employment-Related Litigation

Over the past year, the Biden administration has issued a number of labor and employment executive orders applicable to government contractors. Some of those requirements are updates to Obama-era executive orders, while others are new. Together, these obligations, which include an almost 50% increase to the applicable minimum wage, can have a significant impact on contractors.

For any government contractors that have questions about these labor and employment changes, we hope you can join us for an overview of these recent developments.

Continue Reading [WEBINAR] What Was Old is New Again – Government Contractor Labor & Employment Updates

Over the past two years, the pandemic has forced employers to navigate in unchartered waters. The focus on health and safety, managing a remote workforce, and staying abreast of the ever-changing COVID-19-related legislation and guidance has left in-house counsel and human resources professionals with little time to focus on many of the fundamental steps that are essential to proactively and successfully managing employee issues. While the challenges associated with COVID-19 remain at the forefront of employers’ concerns, it is time to return to familiar waters and revisit some of the best HR-related practices.

Join us for the first of a three-part virtual seminar in which Bass, Berry & Sims labor & employment attorneys will address best practices across a range of topics that continue to impact day-to-day operations in the workplace and cause potential risk exposure for employers.

Topics covered during the first webinar of the series will include:

  • Training for the C-Suite, Managers/Supervisors and Employees.
  • Auditing Pay Practices (Pay Equity and Wage & Hour Compliance).
  • Updating Policies and Job Descriptions for the New Year.

To access the recording of this webinar, please click here.

Continue Reading [WEBINAR] Returning to Familiar Waters – Best Practices for Proactively Managing Workplace Issues and Minimizing the Risk of Employment-Related Litigation

The first few years of operations can be an overwhelming task for emerging companies, especially when it comes to navigating the wide range of employment laws that come with hiring new members of the team. Below is a list of issues to be aware of as you build and structure your workforce. Continue reading to

While managing the fallout from COVID-19 has dominated the focus of employers this year, there have been a number of recent employment law developments unrelated to the virus. During this virtual seminar Bass, Berry & Sims labor & employment attorneys will address legislative developments and agency guidance with respect to a number of these issues

The economic repercussions of COVID-19 have been immediate and in many cases, debilitating, to American business across all industries, from food & beverage to manufacturing to healthcare.  Challenges faced include government-mandated closures of certain “non-essential” businesses and reduced demand of products and/or services.  As business revenue plummets, many companies are faced with the need to cut significant human capital costs in order to keep their business afloat.  Below are some options for companies to consider as they work to address reduced staffing needs.

Furlough

While the term furlough is used to describe various arrangements, typically a furlough is an unpaid leave of absence.  A furlough is often ideal for employers who anticipate a temporary need for reduced staffing.  Employees on furlough are still technically employed by the employer and, as a result, may be able to remain on the employer’s group health plan(s) if permitted by the terms of the plan(s).  Employers may require employees to pay the applicable employee portion of the premium during the furlough.  If the employer’s group health plan(s) is not available to employees on furlough, COBRA coverage would commence.  Also, many states allow for unemployment compensation to employees on an unpaid furlough.

Continue Reading Workforce Reduction Options Amid COVID-19

Bass, Berry & Sims labor & employment attorneys recently held a webinar briefing covering key information for employers under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act.

Employers’ obligations will become effective no later than April 2, 2020. Get the information you need to know regarding the following aspects of the Act:

  • Emergency Paid Sick Leave
  • Emergency

Please note that the content below was posted on March 19, 2020. We have since provided updated guidance on the topics discussed in this post here.

On Wednesday, March 18, 2020, President Trump signed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act into law. The final version of the law contains significant revisions to the bill that was passed by the U.S. House of Representatives on Saturday, March 14, 2020.

Employers’ obligations will become effective no later than April 2, 2020. A summary of the employment-related provisions and answers to some frequently asked questions regarding the Act are provided below.

On March 23 from 12 p.m. – 1 p.m. CT, we will host a webinar titled “Employer Obligations Under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act”.

Please register here and join us as we discuss the latest guidance for employers and answer your frequently asked questions.

Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act

Employers must provide paid sick time to employees who are unable to work (or telework) for the following purposes through December 31, 2020:

  1. The employee is subject to a federal, state, or local quarantine order related to COVID-19.
  2. The employee has been advised by a healthcare provider to self-quarantine due to COVID-19 concerns.
  3. The employee is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and seeking a medical diagnosis.
  4. The employee is caring for an individual who is subject to an order described in (1) above or has been advised as described in (2) above.
  5. The employee is caring for a child if the school or place of care has been closed or the child care provider of such child is unavailable due to COVID-19 precautions.
  6. The employee is experiencing any other substantially similar condition specified by the Secretary of Health and Human Services in consultation with the Secretary of the Treasury and the Secretary of Labor.


Continue Reading Families First Coronavirus Response Act

On Saturday, March 14, 2020, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. The Act is expected to be voted on by the U.S. Senate, and signed by President Trump early this week.

There are two different versions of the bill that are being circulated, but both versions contain extended FMLA