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On June 25, 2018, MSHA issued a request for data regarding new or existing technologies that can help improve miner safety. The Request for Information (RFI), which was published in the Federal Register on June 26, 2018, centers on mitigating incidents involving mobile equipment and belt conveyors at surface and underground mines. According to David Zatezalo, Assistant Secretary for MSHA, “the Trump Administration is committed to the health and safety of America’s miners. Through the…
MSHA continues to request information from underground stakeholders concerning the exposure of underground miners to diesel exhaust. The original notice and request for information was published on June 8, 2016. The motivation behind MSHA’s request for information and data stems from a joint study conducted by the National Cancer Institute and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health in March 2012. The study examined 12, 315 miners in 8 metal/nonmetal facilities for the purpose…
Last week, a court upheld the Minneapolis paid sick leave ordinance, but ruled that it is only enforceable against employers within the city’s limits. Minneapolis’s paid sick leave ordinance was passed in 2016 and was immediately challenged by the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce, which argued that the Minneapolis ordinance conflicts with state law and cannot be enforced against employers who do not have a physical presence in the city. That challenge resulted in a temporary…
With all the national press coverage about tax savings, tax cuts and company bonus payments associated with the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 (the “Tax Act”), it is easy to miss the changes in federal tax laws that impose substantial negative tax consequences on employers that pay certain executives an amount of compensation that Congress has deemed “excessive.” In this particular area, the changes brought about by the Tax Act do not cut…
This week, in Austin, Texas, several business groups and staffing organizations sued the City of Austin to prevent its paid sick and safe leave law from going into effect on October 1, 2018.  As detailed in a previous post, the Austin ordinance requires employers to provide employees who work at least 80 hours in Austin in a calendar year to accrue paid sick leave at the rate of one hour for every 30 hours…
This week, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issued FAQ guidance regarding the employer tax credit for paid family and medical leave. As a reminder, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 (the Act) provides a tax credit to employers that voluntarily offer paid family and/or medical leave to employees. The FAQs clarify some of the requirements in Section 45S of the Act that an employer’s paid family and/or medical leave policy must include. The…
This week, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issued FAQ guidance regarding the employer tax credit for paid family and medical leave. As a reminder, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 (the Act) provides a tax credit to employers that voluntarily offer paid family and/or medical leave to employees. The FAQs clarify some of the requirements in Section 45S of the Act that an employer’s paid family and/or medical leave policy must include. The…
By the end of this year, employers with employees in the state of Washington must be ready to comply with last summer’s newly-enacted a paid family and medical leave law. Since the law’s passage, Washington has been busy fine-tuning the program and providing updates. Recently, Washington announced that employers with employees in the state of Washington can begin submitting their voluntary paid family leave plans this summer through the state’s online portal. However, employers…
Is it compensable time when an employee takes frequent, 15-minute breaks each hour due to the employee’s serious health condition? Today, the United States Department of Labor (DOL) answered this question in a hot-off-the-press opinion letter, verifying that FMLA-covered breaks are not compensable. In today’s opinion letter, the DOL confirmed that frequent, 15-minute breaks taken each hour and necessitated by an employee’s serious health condition is uncompensated time because the breaks are taken for…
On April 10, 2010, Massey Energy’s Upper Big Branch underground coal mine suffered an explosion, resulting in the death of 29 miners. The investigation determined that inadequate ventilation caused a buildup of toxic gases, resulting in the explosion.  Massey Energy eventually declared bankruptcy, and the UBB mine closed for good.  Following the explosion, the families of the victims directed criticism at MSHA for not issuing a flagrant violation despite the mine’s history of receiving hundreds…