Federal Law Update-December 2017

An Early Gift for Employers: Recent NLRB Decisions Create More Predictability
December 15, 2017
California Law Update- December 2017
December 19, 2017

DOL Announced Proposal Expanding Tip Sharing

On December 4, 2017, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) announced a notice of proposed rule making (NPRM) regarding the tip regulations under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Under the proposed rule, workplaces could permit tip sharing among more employees. The proposed rule would apply to employers that pay a full minimum wage, do not take a tip credit, and allow tip sharing through a tip pool with employees who do not traditionally receive direct tips, such as restaurant cooks and dish washers. The proposal would not affect current rules applicable to employers that claim a tip credit under the FLSA.

The NPRM was published in the Federal Register on December 5, 2017 and is available for public
comment for 30 days.

Read the press release and the NPRM website

USDOT Updates Drug and Alcohol Testing Policies

On December 1, 2017, the U.S. Department of Transportation published its Employer DOT Policies – the Part 40 Changes notice to assist employers in making necessary changes to their DOT policies under 49 C.F.R. 40.

The changes are effective January 1, 2018.

Read the guidance

SSA Modifies Payroll Tax Cap for 2018
On November 27, 2017, the Social Security Administration (SSA) announced that the maximum amount of earnings subject to the Social Security tax for 2018 is $128,400, based on updated wage data, and not the $128,700 amount announced in October. This lower taxable maximum amount is due to corrected W2s provided to the SSA in late October 2017 by a national payroll service provider.

This change to the taxable minimum takes effect January 2018.

Read the press release

Disability Claims Procedure Amendments Applicability Date Delayed
On November 24, 2017, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) announced a 90-day delay — through April 1, 2018 — of the applicability date for Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) plans to comply with a final rule amending the claims procedure requirements for disability benefits. The amendments were scheduled to become applicable to claims for disability benefits filed on or after January 1, 2018.

According to the DOL, the 90-day delay allows it to consider comments and data as part of its effort, pursuant to Executive Order 13777, to re-examine the merits of repealing, replacing, modifying, or retaining the rule. The comment period ends on December 11, 2017.

Read the press release

USCIS Expands In-Person Interview Requirements
On October 1, 2017, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) began to phase-in interviews for the following applicants whose benefit, if granted, would allow them to permanently reside in the United States:

  • Adjustment of status applications based on employment (Form I-485, Application to Register
    Permanent Residence or Adjust Status).
  • Refugee/asylee relative petitions (Form I-730, Refugee/Asylee Relative Petition) for beneficiaries
    who are in the United States and are petitioning to join a principal asylee/refugee applicant.

Previously, applicants in these categories did not require an in-person interview with USCIS officers for their application for permanent residency to be adjudicated.

Read the press release

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