Last week the Department of Labor released Final Rule to Update Regular Rate Regulations.
On December 12th, 2019 the U.S. Department of Labor announced their final decision that will make it easier for employers to offer perks and benefits to those working for them without worrying about the regular rate of pay. This signifies the first substantial update to the standards governing regular rate requirements set under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLASA) in over 50 years.
The Changing Landscape
Previously employers would be left uncertain about how they would factor in perks and benefits when calculating their regular rates of pay. This new change details in greater detail which benefits and perks need to be included when calculation regular play. Not only does it detail what needs to be included but it explains what does not need to be included in regular pay.
What can be excluded
- the cost of providing certain parking benefits, wellness programs, onsite specialist treatment, gym access, and fitness classes, employee discounts on retail goods and services, certain tuition benefits (whether paid to an employee, an education provider, or a student-loan program), and adoption assistance;
- payments for unused paid leave, including paid sick leave or paid time off;
- payments of certain penalties required under state and local scheduling laws;
- reimbursed expenses including cellphone plans, credentialing exam fees, organization membership dues, and travel, even if not incurred “solely” for the employer’s benefit; and clarifies that reimbursements that do not exceed the maximum travel reimbursement under the Federal Travel Regulation System or the optional IRS substantiation amounts for travel expenses are per se “reasonable payments”;
- certain sign-on bonuses and certain longevity bonuses;
- the cost of office coffee and snacks to employees as gifts;
- discretionary bonuses, by clarifying that the label given a bonus does not determine whether it is discretionary and providing additional examples and;
- contributions to benefit plans for an accident, unemployment, legal services, or other events that could cause future financial hardship or expense.
What does this mean for you?
As home care providers, making sure you understand the changes with labor standards both national and local are an important part of your business. It also helps you further develop your caregiver retention strategy and benefits to ensure your team stays with you. Taking full advantage of these new guidelines gives you another tool for your caregivers to become more invested in your business and to stay with you.
The final rule also details additional clarifications about other forms of compensation, including payment for meal periods and “call back” pay.