Number: 21-05

November 7, 2005

Form LM-30 Advisory - De Minimis Exemption Increased

The Department of Labor, Office of Labor-Management Standards (OLMS) has today issued an advisory regarding Form LM-30. The Form LM-30 (Union Officer and Employee Report) informs filers that they "do not have to report any sporadic or occasional gifts, gratuities, or loans of insubstantial value, given under circumstances and terms unrelated to the [filer's] status in a labor organization." (Form LM-30 Instructions, General Instructions.) This test has been referred to as a "de minimis exemption." If the test is satisfied, the filer need not report the gift or gratuity on Form LM-30. If the test is not satisfied, the gift or gratuity must be reported on Form LM-30.

Guidance previously issued by OLMS on "de minimis" situations included examples of an employer picking up a lunch tab or an employer giving a union officer a Christmas gift of nominal value. A car was given as an example of a gift that would require a report. In March 2005, in order to provide more guidance on this issue, OLMS revised its LMRDA Interpretative Manual to quantify as "de minimis" an item with a value of $25 or less.

Between March and October 2005, because of a grace period, Form LM-30 reporting increased dramatically compared to historical practice. Based on a review of these reports, and considering comments from union officers and employees that the de minimis threshold was too low, OLMS has concluded that setting the reporting threshold at $25 places an unnecessary reporting burden on union officials without a corresponding benefit to union members or the public. As an interim measure, pending issuance of a final rule establishing revised Form LM-30 reporting obligations, OLMS has determined that gifts, gratuities or loans with a value of $250 or less received by a union officer or employee will be considered insubstantial for the purposes of Form LM-30 reporting. However, if the aggregate value of multiple gifts or loans from a single employer to a single union officer or employee exceeds $250 in a fiscal year, the transaction will no longer be treated as "de minimis," and the aggregate value of the transactions will be reportable. Gifts or loans from multiple employees of one employer should be treated as originating from a single employer when calculating whether the $250 threshold has been exceeded.

Although offers of numerous small gratuities would appear to be outside the de minimis exemption because they are not provided on an "infrequent or sporadic" basis, the Department will not seek to enforce the reporting requirement, so long as the aggregate value of these gratuities does not exceed $250 per union officer or employee. For example, a union officer or employee who receives coffee, provided by an employer, at bi-weekly meetings over the course of a year would not be required to report this gratuity on a Form LM-30.

In a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, published in the Federal Register on August 29, 2005, concerning the Form LM-30, the Department has sought comment on this standard and the dollar threshold. (70 Fed. Reg. 51166, 51175.) The comment period has been extended to January 26, 2006. (70 Fed. Reg. 61,400.) The Department encourages comments from all members of the public on all aspects of this rulemaking.

For general guidance on Form LM-30, see Current Form LM-30 Information.

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Last Updated: 11/07/05