Jan 28, 2019

DOT Says Motor Carriers Need Not Comply with California Break Laws

California Break Laws don't apply to truck drivers

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (“FMCSA”) recently issued a decision stating that motor carriers do not have to comply with California break laws requiring employers to provide workers with regular meal breaks and paid rest breaks. This decision, announced by the agency on December 21, 2018, attempts to overturn a 2014 ruling by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. The decision by the FMCSA follows a petition filed in September 2018 by the American Trucking Association asking that the agency exempt carriers from the California break laws. Specifically, the law requires that employers provide a 30-minute meal break every… Read more


Dec 17, 2018

ACA Ruled Unconstitutional By Texas Court-What’s Next?

HRA: Health Reimbursement Arrangements ACA

Hours before the end of annual enrollment in the federal health care exchanges under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), a Texas district court judge ruled that the ACA is unconstitutional because the ACA’s individual mandate was eliminated. (The individual mandate is reduced to zero on January 1, 2019.) In Texas vs. United States, Judge Reed C. O’Connor struck down the law, siding with a group of 18 Republican state attorneys general and two GOP governors that the tax bill passed by Congress last December effectively rendered the entire ACA unconstitutional. Judge O’Connor ruled that, because the U.S. Supreme Court upheld… Read more


Nov 7, 2018

Breaking News: Post-Election IRS Issues Final ACA Rule Regarding Religious Exemptions

ACA Affordable Care Act

The IRS has just released new final regulations regarding religious exemptions and accommodations from the contraceptive coverage mandate of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The rule, to be officially published on November 15th, currently in unpublished form, is available here. This final rule, released post-midterm elections, will provide a way forward for religious organizations that object to certain contraceptive coverage required under the ACA. More details soon.


Jun 20, 2018

Association Health Plans Reinvigorated-New Options for Many Employers

White House: Executive Order Reinvigorates Association Health Plans

Association Health Plans have been reinvigorated by the new regulations released yesterday by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL). As I mentioned in my blog entry yesterday, these regulations are the result of President Trump’s executive order last year instructing the DOL to allow for more flexibility related to the Affordable Care Act (ACA), and health insurance. As we are parsing the 198 pages of comments and final regulations, it is clear that the final regulations loosen many restrictions on “association health plans” (AHPs). Now, more small businesses, including self-employed (sole proprietors) employers, can either become members of, or even establish… Read more


Jun 13, 2018

Will the ACA be Dismantled in Court? Justice Department Declines to Support ACA Provisions

Affordable Care Act (ACA)

President Trump’s administration continues in its mission to dismantle the Affordable Care Act (ACA). While attempts to repeal the ACA through legislation have not succeeded, the constitutionality of the ACA is again under assault. In an unusual move, Attorney General Jeff Sessions sent a letter to congressional leaders, telling them that the Justice Department will not defend the constitutionality of certain ACA provisions in the lawsuit filed in the Northern District Court in Texas by 20 State Attorney Generals. The letter stated in part that “The department in the past has declined to defend a statute in cases in which… Read more


Feb 26, 2018

New York City’s New Requirements for Workplace Accommodations

Workplace Accommodation for Disabilities, Wheelchair Access

Effective October 15, 2018, employers in New York City will be subject to broader accommodation requirements than those set forth in the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”). A recent amendment to the New York City Human Rights Law (“NYCHRL”) requires employers to engage in a “cooperative dialogue” with an individual who is or may be entitled to an accommodation. The NYCHRL applies to employers with four or more employees, and under the new amendment, employers are required to engage in a “cooperative dialogue” with an individual who has requested an accommodation or who the employer has notice may require an… Read more


Feb 23, 2018

New Rules Impact Companies who use Interns and Apprentices

Intern Learning

Many employers in the U.S. utilize student interns or apprentices to work on a short-term basis.  Oftentimes, companies make such internship or apprenticeship opportunities available without offering pay for the provision of services, and indeed, many times students and others new to the workforce have been more than willing to work without pay for the opportunity to gain valuable job experience and skills they can utilize in the future. The federal Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) and state and local laws require employers to pay employees for their work.  Interns and students, however, may not be considered employees and do… Read more


Dec 20, 2017

Health Care Implications of Tax Bill: No More Individual Mandate

Health Care and Taxes

Late yesterday, the U.S. Senate Republicans approved a tax bill, by a vote of 51-48. This bill was previously approved by the U.S. House by a vote of 227-203.  As the bill must be identical in both chambers, this bill now heads back to the U.S. House to correct three provisions. One of these provisions is the actual name of the bill. The Senate version’s short title, the “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act,” must be known as “An Act to provide for reconciliation pursuant to titles II and V of the concurrent resolution on the budget for fiscal year 2018,”… Read more


Dec 3, 2017

Senate Passes Tax Reform – Individual Mandate Penalty Eliminated

Senate Passes Tax Reform

Early Saturday morning, the U.S. Senate passed tax reform along party lines, by a vote of 51 to 49. The Senate version of tax reform includes a 20 percent corporate rate, rate cuts for individuals, and in a last minute addition, retention of the state and local tax deduction. This legislation also includes the repeal of the individual mandate under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). As a reminder, under the ACA, each taxpayer is required to purchase minimum value health insurance coverage (subject to certain exemptions) or pay a penalty. Now the House and Senate must iron out the differences between… Read more


Nov 30, 2017

Senate Will Likely Vote on Tax Reform Late Today or Tomorrow: Individual Mandate Penalty Relief is Included

Tax Reform: Individual Mandate Penalty

According to multiple sources, the U.S. Senate is close to voting on tax reform either later today or in the morning. Absent any late defections, the bill is expected to pass the Senate through a strict party-line vote. While the final version of the bill is not yet set, at this time, the current version includes the elimination of the individual mandate penalty currently provided by the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The House’s version of tax reform, the Tax Cut and Jobs Act, passed on November 16th, does not include the elimination of the individual mandate penalty, although the House… Read more