​ ​The final overtime rule, Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and marijuana-related news were among the most popular SHRM Online articles in 2019. While the final overtime rule helped answer many questions employers had about Fair Labor Standards Act compliance, employers are struggling to comply with the FMLA and state laws legalizing marijuana. Here are the year's top employment law articles.

No. 1: New Overtime Rule Raises Salary Cut-Off to $35,568

Employees who make less thanperson working late $35,568 are now eligible for overtime pay under a final rule issued by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), if they meet certain duties tests. The new rate takes effect Jan. 1, 2020. The new rule will raise the salary threshold to $684 a week ($35,568 annualized) from $455 a week ($23,660 annualized). The rule is expected to prompt employers to reclassify more than a million currently exempt workers to nonexempt status and raise pay for others above the new threshold.

person in meeting

Parents can take FMLA time off to attend special education meetings—called individualized education program meetings—for children with serious health conditions, according to an Aug. 8 DOL opinion letter. FMLA leave likely will increase as parents learn that time off for this purpose is an option.

marijuanaNo. 3: The ABCs of THC: What Employers Need to Know About Marijuana Laws

As support for the legalization of marijuana grows and more states approve marijuana's medical and recreational use, employers must understand the relevant legal developments and how they affect the workplace. About 62 percent of U.S. respondents to a 2018 Pew Research Center survey said marijuana use should be legal, compared to 31 percent who supported legalization in 2000.

person talking

Once an employer knows that a leave of absence qualifies under the FMLA, it must designate it as such, even if the employee wants to first exhaust paid-time-off benefits. The DOL took this position in a recent opinion letter, though its opinion conflicts with a federal appellate court ruling.

cannabis oil

The growing popularity of cannabis oil is leading to more positive tests for tetrahydrocannabinol, the psychoactive component in marijuana. But what exactly is cannabis oil? Can workers get high from it? Why would they use it? Is it illegal? Experts weigh in to keep HR professionals and managers up-to-date on the ever-changing reality of drug use in the workplace.

injured man working from homeNo. 6: What Should Employers Do When Workers Exhaust FMLA Leave?

When employees exhaust their FMLA leave, they may want to return to work or take additional leave. Here are some tips to help employers manage the return-to-work process and decide if providing more leave is appropriate.


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