2016 State Unemployment Insurance Report

Department of Labor Releases 2016 State Unemployment Insurance Report

American Staffing Association (02/26/16)  Toby Malara

The 2016 State Unemployment Insurance Report has been released by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Unemployment Insurance.

As of the end of 2015, four states and jurisdictions (California, Connecticut, Ohio, and the U.S. Virgin Islands) still had outstanding loans to the federal government, totaling $7.36 billion. Six states (Colorado, Illinois, Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania, and Texas) currently have outstanding private loan and debt service obligations totaling $8.3 billion.

Even though most states’ trust funds show positive balances, only 18 states have balances that meet or exceed DOL’s recommended solvency level. States without sufficient funds in their trust accounts likely would have to borrow money from the federal government in the event of another recession.

In his latest budget, President Obama recommended several proposed reforms to state unemployment insurance programs. One proposal would require states to provide at least 26 weeks of coverage while maintaining reserves in their UI trust fund accounts sufficient to provide benefits for at least six months of an average economic recession. While these provisions are unlikely to be adopted by this Congress, they may be part of a future administration’s agenda.

The DOL report is available at dol.gov.

Summertime Blues? Solicitor of Labor Eyes July Publication of Overtime Regs

Summertime Blues? Solicitor of Labor Eyes July Publication of Overtime Regs

Posted in DOL Enforcement
Authored by Alex Passantino

Pinning down a publication date for the DOL’s final revisions to the white-collar exemption rules has proven difficult for anyone outside of the agency’s headquarters. Sometimes, the answer seems to elude even those inside the Frances Perkins Building. From statements from the Solicitor last Fall that the rule would be out in “late 2016” (subscription) to the Department’s regulatory agenda setting a target date of July 2016 to Secretary of Labor Perez’s confidence that the rule would be out by Spring of 2016, we’ve seen a fairly wide range of expectations out of DOL.

At a recent meeting of the New York State Bar Association, we got yet another, although this one is in line with the Department’s official target: the Solicitor of Labor told a group of attorneys that the overtime rule would be issued in early July.

The Department proposed to increase the salary level required for exemption to $50,440, and the salary required for the highly compensated employee exemption to $125,000. The Department also proposed to automatically increase the salary on a regular basis, based on inflation or other factors. DOL inquired into a number of issues related to the duties tests, including the propriety of changing the standards for determining an employee’s “primary duty,” but did not afford the regulated community the opportunity to comment on any specific proposal.

DOL received nearly 300,000 comments in response to its proposal. It is in the process of reviewing those comments and finalizing the rule. Once DOL has finalized the rule and publishes it in the Federal Register, employers likely will have between 60 and 120 days to come into compliance with the new standards. Given the short timeframe, employers should be starting to review their potentially impacted positions now.