DOL’s Important Employees, Important Protections Initiative

The U.S. Department of Labor announced the Essential Workers, Essential Protections initiative on April 26, 2021. The initiative aims to educate workers about the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). The initiative aims to protect workers in “occupations where workers are more likely to be victims of wage theft or work in environments where they are at risk of exploitation,” said Jessica Looman, assistant chief administrator of the payroll department. It also provides information to employees about their right to sick leave and pay under federal law.

The initiative includes a new website with links to various federal employment resources. Employees can also register for webinars during the month of May. These webinars cover topics such as “Federal Labor Laws and Labor Rights”, “Basic Protection for Union Members and Representatives”, “Basic Protection for DOL / WHD / OSHA” and various country-specific laws.

frequently asked Questions

The initiative also has pages with frequently asked questions about pay and sick leave. The FAQs dedicated to the FLSA examine various areas of compliance related to compensable time. For example, several frequently asked questions indicate when an employer should pay employees for temperature and health checks. The guidelines require employers to pay for checkups before normal working hours if this is an “integral and indispensable” part of the worker’s job. And for those employees who do health checkups during the work day, the FAQs say that time is always compensable as it doesn’t fall under any of the exemptions from 29 CFR 785.

The FAQs also deal with more complex topics, e.g. B. if an employer has to pay employees for COVID-19 tests. Under the FLSA, employers must pay workers for the time they spend waiting for their instruction and getting medical attention or during normal working hours on their premises. However, if the employee is required to have a test on their day off, then the staff will need to be paid if the test is required so that the employee can safely and effectively do their job during the pandemic.

Regarding teleworking, the FAQ clarifies that employers can require their employees to telework as an infection control or prevention strategy. However, you cannot discriminate against employees for teleworking.

Finally, the FAQ addresses other common FLSA compliance issues, such as: B. Dressing and undressing considerations, unauthorized deductions for business expenses when it concerns compliance with the minimum wage, hazard payment for public and government contractors, break time for nursing mothers, and regular time rate calculation considerations.

Best Practices for Employers

It’s no surprise that the pandemic has created several novel wage and hourly problems for employers. The DOL initiative is a reminder of the importance of having clear and precise procedures for reporting, tracking, reviewing and paying for all hours worked. Employers should ensure that their employees’ attestations of time records are truthful and complete and that designated management personnel promptly review these records as soon as possible after submission. Employers must also monitor potential vacation and wage issues related to COVID-19 testing.

© 2021 Dinsmore & Shohl LLP. All rights reserved.National Law Review, Volume XI, Number 120

Comments are closed.