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CLIENT ALERT: U.S. Department of Labor, Wage and Hour Division Sets Enforcement Record

In advance of Halloween, the U.S. Department of Labor announced the results of its Wage and Hour Division's (WHD) recovery efforts for Fiscal Year 2019, and it reads like a horror story.

The good news to lull you into a feeling of safety was that the 18,844 Complaints Registered was the fewest amount over the past 22 years or published records.

Even more reassuring was that that total number of Concluded Cases was the fewest since 2009/10.

NOW FOR THE SCARE...

the total amount of Wages Recovered was $322M!  This amount overwhelmingly surpasses the $260M average of total wages recovered for the previous five (5) years.  These wage recoveries do not include any data from civil litigation.

WHAT WERE THE VIOLATIONS?

As usual, the vast majority of enforcement actions were Unpaid Overtime - approximately 83%.  This includes the typical errors in calculating overtime for employees as well as the Misclassification of Independent Contractors.  

WHAT INDUSTRIES WERE HIT THE HARDEST?

The biggest increase in wage violations hit the Construction Industry, which saw a greater than 25% increase in back wages recovery from the previous year.  A similar increase struck Health Care, which increased just under 25% from FY 2018.  The Food Services and Hotels and Motels industries both saw significant decreases in violations from previous years.

WHAT DOES IT MEAN?

Frequent followers of these posts know we highlight that, each year, the annual budget of the Wage and Hour Division increases to allow more investigators and more enforcement action.  Emboldened with a record recovery, we can expect more and more investigations for years to come.  It means that Construction and Health Care employers need to take a close look at their wage and hour practices to ensure compliance.

For questions about your Wage and Hour practices, the recent changes to Overtime Exemption Thresholds, the Increase to Minimum Wage, or any other Labor + Employment questions, please contact any of our Team Members.  

Jeffrey C. Miller, Esq.

Labor + Employment Partner

BMD Cleveland | 200 Public Square | Suite 3270 | Cleveland, OH 44114

Vaccination Considerations for Employers

Today, three Covid-19 vaccines have tested as highly effective (90%+ efficacy) and are advancing in the process for emergency use. This is especially welcome news in Ohio, which has skyrocketing cases and our strategic response has been to turn the entire state into the small town of Bomont with strict curfews and bans on social gatherings.

Did You Receive More than $750,000 in Provider Relief Funds?

The Provider Relief Funds (“PRF”) - authorized under the CARES Act - has been a vital tool for health care providers during the COVID-19 public health emergency. These funds have allowed providers to stay open and continue to offer care during these pressing times. While helpful, these funds do come with several important obligations. First, fund recipients are required to comply with certain record-keeping requirements as well as comply with certain balance billing prohibitions. See our Client Alert. Second, fund recipients are required to report their intent, use of funds, and other data elements, which helps promote transparency to the federal government. Please see our Client Alert on provider relief fund reporting requirements. Third, and perhaps a new concept for many providers, fund recipients of more than $750,000 must undergo a “single audit” to ensure program compliance and appropriate use of funds.

Important Updates Every Provider Should Know: Information Blocking

In December 2016, Congress passed the 21st Century Cures Act (“Cures Act”) which: (1) authorized funding for the National Institutes of Health to promote medical research and drug development, (2) implemented provisions aimed at addressing the prevention and treatment of mental illness and substance abuse, and (3) reformed certain standards of the Medicare program and federal tax laws to foster healthcare access and quality improvement.

PPP Update: Loan Necessity Questionnaires

On October 26, 2020, the Small Business Administration (“SBA”) published a notice in the Federal Register which foreshadowed the release of two new forms seeking information from for-profit and nonprofit organizations that received Paycheck Protection Program (“PPP”) loans of $2 million or more. If approved, the SBA would use information from these forms to evaluate and determine whether economic uncertainty made a PPP loan request necessary.

Exposure to COVID-19 Flow Chart

Exposure to COVID-19 Flow Chart