Overtime Rule, Temporary Status, H-2A in Recent Employment News

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In employment and workforce-related news, the Department of Labor’s Wage & Hour Division is expected during March to propose a new salary threshold for its so-called “white collar” exemptions from overtime pay. Wage & Hour is expected to propose that workers who earn less than $35,000 a year automatically eligible for overtime pay for all hours beyond 40 a week. 

For those following the countdown to termination of the “temporary protected status” (TPS) for an estimated 300,000 nationals of countries including El Salvador, Honduras, and Haiti, the Trump administration is extending the status for many into January 2020 in the face of ongoing court challenges. However, the lawsuit triggering this action does not yet extend to Hondurans, who were not covered under the initial court challenge. Meanwhile, House Democrats plan to introduce legislation providing relief to TPS recipients within the next two weeks. The horticulture industry is a significant employer of TPS recipients, particularly those from El Salvador and Honduras. 

Finally, we eagerly await an expected Federal Registernotice outlining proposed changes to modernize and improve the H-2A program. The streamlining initiative involves four federal departments, primarily the Departments of Labor and Agriculture. A regulatory package is making its way through the review and clearance process, with the hope that changes will be in place in time for the 2020 growing season. 

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