DOL sets agenda for new regulations

The Department of Labor (DOL) has issued its semiannual regulatory agenda, including significant changes to the rules under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Here’s a list of some key items the DOL plans to take up in coming months.

FMLA definition of spouse

As it promised in the wake of the Windsor decision, the DOL plans to propose new regulations redefining “spouse” for purposes of the FMLA. Currently, the FMLA regulations define a spouse as “… a husband or wife as defined or recognized under State law for purposes of marriage in the State where the employee resides…” [29 C.F.R. §102]. The DOL has indicated that it intends to update the regulations to recognize spouses based on the state of celebration of their marriage. That interpretation has been adopted by the IRS for tax purposes and by the DOL’s Employee Benefits Security Administration for purposes of benefit plan administration.

White-collar exemptions

The DOL agenda calls for new proposed regulations dealing with the so-called “white-collar exemptions” for executive, administrative, and professional employees. The agenda indicates that proposed rules can be expected by November of this year. Earlier this year, the President issued a directive to the DOL to overhaul the exemptions, which he described as having “eroded” over the years.

Minimum wage for federal contractors

The DOL plans to propose new regulations implementing the President’s Executive Order mandating a $10.10 minimum wage for workers on federal contracts [Executive Order–Minimum Wage for Contractors, Feb. 12, 2014]. According to the DOL’s timetable, the proposal is scheduled to be released sometime this month.

Other items

Long-term items on the DOL’s agenda include an overhaul of the rules governing hazardous occupations for young workers (Child Labor Hazardous Occupations Order, No. 7) and “Right to Know” rules that would update the FLSA recordkeeping regulations to require disclosure of a worker’s status and how the worker’s pay is computed. (Department of Labor Semiannual Regulatory Agenda, May 23, 2014.)

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