Employment Law Updates

Employers are often confused about whether they may count a holiday against an employee's 12 week Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) entitlement. The U.S. Department of Labor has issued guidance on this subject. As explained in the DOL's FMLA Fact Sheet #28I, when a holiday falls during a week in which an employee is taking the full week of FMLA leave, the entire week is counted as FMLA leave. However, when a holiday falls during a week when an employee is taking less than the full week of FMLA leave, the holiday is not counted as FMLA leave, unless the employee was scheduled and expected to work on the holiday and used FMLA leave for that day.

There is no Virginia statute that requires employers to pay a departing employee for accrued vacation or other leave time. The Virginia Department of Labor and Industry (DOLI), however, takes the position that the employer does have an obligation to pay for accrued leave if the employer has a policy or practice of doing so. For example, if the company’s employee handbook states that accrued vacation time will be paid upon termination of employment, the company will be bound by that policy.

Employers will be required to use the newest version of the Form I-9 to verify the employment eligibility of their employees by September 18. The changes to the form mostly relate to the List of Acceptable Documents. The new form should be used when verifying the eligibility of new employees or re-verifying the eligibility of employees who have work authorizations with an expiration date. A link to the new form can be found at https://www.uscis.gov/i-9.

Employers should be aware of potential legal pitfalls in their employment application forms. A good rule of thumb is to avoid asking for information that cannot legally be considered in making a hiring decision. The following are examples of information that should generally not be requested:

The U.S. Department of Labor today issued its long-awaited final regulations confirming the proposed changes to the Fair Labor Standards Act overtime pay exemptions. The salary level that is required as part of the test for an employee to be classified as exempt has been $455 per week for many years. The new regulations increase this level to $913 per week. The change on an annual basis is from $23,660 to $47,476. The new salary level goes into effect on December 1, 2016.

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