On January 5, 2018, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD) released a Field Assistance Bulletin (FAB No. 2018-2) establishing that the primary beneficiary test, rather than the six-point test, will determine whether interns at for-profit employers are employees under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).
The primary beneficiary test requires an examination of the economic reality of the intern-employer relationship to determine which party is the primary beneficiary of the relationship. The following seven factors are part of this test:
According to the WHD, under the primary beneficiary test, no one factor is dispositive and every factor is not required to be fulfilled to conclude that the intern is not an employee entitled to the minimum wage. The primary beneficiary test is a distinct shift in analysis because per the six-part test every intern and trainee would be an employee under the FLSA unless his or her job satisfied each of six independent criteria. Courts have held that the primary beneficiary test is an inherently “flexible” test and whether an intern or trainee is an employee under the FLSA necessarily depends on the unique circumstances of each case.
The WHD announced it will conform to the federal court of appeals’ determinations and use the same court-adopted test to determine whether interns or students are employees under the FLSA.
Read the field bulletin
On January 2, 2018, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) announced in the Federal Register that penalties for violations of the following federal laws have increased for 2018:
These increases are due to the requirements of the Inflation Adjustment Act, which requires the DOL to annually adjust its civil money penalty levels for inflation by no later than January 15.
These increased rates are effective January 2, 2018.
Read the Federal Register
On January 2, 2018, the U.S. Department of Labor announced in the Federal Register that Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) penalties will increase for 2018 as follows:
These increases apply to states with federal OSHA programs; rates for states with OSHA-approved State Plans will increase to these amounts as well; State Plans are required to increase their penalties in alignment with OSHA’s to maintain at least as effective penalty levels.
These new penalty increases are effective as of January 2, 2018 and apply to any citations issued on that day and thereafter.
Read the Federal Register
The Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), and the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) released the advance informational copies of the 2017 Form 5500 and related instructions. For small employee benefit plan reports, advance short form copies of 2017 Form 5500-Short Form (SF) and 2017 Instructions for Form 5500-SF were also released with supplemental materials including schedules and attachments.
Read about and download the Form 5500 Series