Posts in General wage hour.
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Washington, D.C. is poised to extend the reach of its minimum wage requirements. On January 10, 2024, Washington D.C. Mayor Bowser signed the Minimum Wage Clarification Amendment Act of 2023 (B25-0134) (the “Amendment”), which modifies the circumstances under which an employee must be paid the District of Columbia’s minimum wage.

Traditionally, D.C.’s wage and hour law has required employers to pay employees at least the D.C. minimum wage when they (i) perform more than 50% of their work in the District, or (ii) the employee is based in D.C., and “regularly spends a ...

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More than a decade ago, Epstein Becker Green (EBG) created its complimentary wage-hour app, putting federal, state, and local wage-hour laws at employers’ fingertips.

The app provides important information about overtime, overtime exemptions, minimum wages, meal periods, rest periods, on-call time, and travel time, as well as tips that employers can use to remain compliant with the law and, hopefully, avoid class action, representative action, and collective action lawsuits and government investigations. 

As the laws have changed over the years, so too has EBG’s free ...

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On January 31, 2024, a Massachusetts trial court dismissed a claim against the Boston Globe alleging that the newspaper violated the commonwealth’s Wage Act by failing to pay an executive’s 2020 profit-share which the executive labeled a “commission.”  The court concluded that the percentage of the Globe’s profits that the executive may be owed under his compensation plan is not a percentage of revenue he personally generated and as a result is not a “commission” under the Wage Act.

Vinay Mehra, the Globe’s President from 2017 until his June 2020 termination, filed ...

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Despite Punxsutawney Phil declaring an early spring, employers should continue to prepare for weather-related emergencies and their wage and hour implications.  As with most of wage and hour-related determinations, employers should be mindful of the distinctions between their exempt and non-exempt workforce when assessing their obligations under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), and state and local laws, to pay employees as a result of weather-related emergencies.

Salaried Exempt Employees

Under the FLSA, employers may not deduct from the salary of an employee classified ...

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On January 9, 2024, the United States Department of Labor’s (DOL) Wage and Hour Division (WHD) announced a final rule regarding how to determine whether a worker qualifies as an employee or may be considered an independent contractor under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).  Designed to combat misclassification, the final rule rescinds DOL’s Trump-era Independent Contractor Rule issued in January 2021 and restores the non-exhaustive six-factor test courts have long used to evaluate whether or not independent contractors were properly classified.  The test considers:

    Blogs
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    Here’s a question you likely have never considered: Are hackers overseas infiltrating employers’ computer systems just to sign arbitration agreements with class action waivers for random employees?

    While there is no evidence that this has ever happened anywhere, and no logical reason why it would, plaintiffs’ lawyers and even some courts seem to believe this could happen. And that is at the heart of the latest battleground over arbitration agreements with class actions waivers.

    Since the United States Supreme Court’s decision in Epic Systems v. Lewis, more and more ...

    Blogs
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    With the new year comes raises in minimum wages, yet again.  As reflected in the charts below, in 2024, minimum wage and, in applicable jurisdictions, tipped minimum wage will increase in 23 states and in a number of counties and cities.

    Accordingly, employers with minimum wage workers (or tipped minimum wage workers) should consult with counsel to ensure that their compensation practices are compliant with the laws in all of the jurisdictions in which they operate.

    Blogs
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    The Clash famously asked “Should I stay, or should I go?” on their 1982 album, Combat Rock, and with recent attacks on non-competes at both the state and federal level, some employers are imposing additional costs on employees who take advantage of an employer’s training opportunities only to leave and join a competitor. So-called “stay or pay” clauses, or training-repayment-agreement-provisions (TRAPs), typically require an employee to pay the employer the cost the employer incurred to train the employee if the employee leaves their employment within a certain ...

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    On September 13, 2023, the United States Department of Labor’s (DOL) Wage and Hour Division (WHD) and the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) entered a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to work together to enforce federal laws and regulations that advance equal employment opportunity and fair pay. The MOU outlines procedures for the agencies to increase their coordination in information sharing, joint investigations, trainings, and outreach efforts.

    I. Information Sharing

    The MOU allows the agencies to consolidate and share information on issues ...

    Blogs
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    An amended version of SB 525 was passed in the California Legislature on September 14, 2023, [1] which would raise minimum wages for health care workers across the state, starting June 1, 2024.  SB 525 is now awaiting signature or veto from California Governor Gavin Newsom, who has until October 14, 2023 to sign or veto this bill.

    CHANGES IN MINIMUM WAGES:

    SB 525 sets forth different tiers of minimum wage increases that vary based on the following:

    • Large health systems and dialysis clinics:[2]
      • Minimum wage for covered health care employees shall be:
        • From June 1, 2024, to May 31, 2025 ...
    Blogs
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    For decades, many employers have rounded non-exempt employees’ work time when calculating their compensation.  Maybe they have rounded employee work time to the nearest 10 minutes, maybe to the nearest quarter hour, but they done it. And, generally, the courts have approved of the practice.

    But as more and more lawsuits are filed challenging the practice, and as the courts begin to review time-rounding more frequently and more critically, the question employers with time-rounding policies should ask themselves today is this:  Why are we still rounding our employees’ time?

    Blogs
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    As the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency has come to an end, employees are heading back to conferences in droves and resuming their usual training activities. While employers big and small understand they must compensate employees for all time worked under the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) as well as state and local wage and hour laws, whether attendance at such conferences and other training time constitutes hours worked for non-exempt employees remains a murky area for employers.

    Four-Factor Test

    Generally, training programs, lectures, meetings, and similar activities are compensable hours worked unless all four of the following factors are true:

    Blogs
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    On April 28, 2023, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit reversed and remanded a decision from the Western District of Texas declining to issue a preliminary injunction barring the Department of Labor (“DOL”) from enforcing a regulation known as the “80/20/30 rule.”

    As we previously reported, on October 29, 2021, the DOL issued a final rule for determining which tipped employees may receive “tip credit” in lieu of receiving the full minimum wage directly from the employer.  Under the 80/20/30 rule, employers must pay employees at least the minimum wage if they spend more than 20% of their time on tasks that do not immediately and directly generate tips, including wiping down tables, filling salt and pepper shakers, rolling silverware into napkins, and other duties referred to in the industry as “side work,” or if they spend more than 30 consecutive minutes performing such tasks.  The Restaurant Law Center and the Texas Restaurant Association promptly sought a preliminary injunction in the Western District of Texas.

    Blogs
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    work | \ wərk \ (noun):  activity in which one exerts strength or faculties to do or perform something

    In common parlance, the concept of “work” connotes some physical or mental exertion.  The law, however, defines the term more broadly, and properly compensating employees often is not as simple as paying for all time spent performing “work” in the usual sense of that term.  The Fair Labor Standard Act (“FLSA”) and the laws of many states require employers to also pay for certain periods of time during which employees are idle and simply waiting to begin working—even if those employees never become engaged in work. 

    Blogs
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    More than a decade ago, Epstein Becker Green (EBG) created its complimentary wage-hour app, putting federal, state, and local wage-hour laws at employers’ fingertips.

    The app provides important information about overtime exemptions, minimum wages, overtime, meal periods, rest periods, on-call time, travel time, and tips that employers can use to remain compliant with the law—and, hopefully, to avoid class action, representative action, and collective action lawsuits and government investigations. 

    Blogs
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    On Tuesday, November 8, 2022, Washington, D.C. voters approved a ballot measure to eliminate the “tip credit” which allowed service industry employers to pay servers, bartenders, and other tipped employees $5.35 an hour rather than D.C.’s $16.10 per hour minimum wage. Currently, employers are required to pay the balance if an employee is unable to make up the difference through tips. Initiative 82 will phase out the tip credit, raising the tip credit minimum wage to $6.00 in January 2023, and then to $8 on July 1, 2023, and then increasing by $2.00 every year until 2027. In 2027 ...

    Blogs
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    Chicago’s Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot and the Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection recently announced that the city’s minimum wage for various employers will increase per the Minimum Wage Ordinance (Ordinance), effective July 1, 2022.

    Blogs
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    As COVID-19 restrictions have continued to loosen or be lifted altogether, employees have gradually resumed working in the office—and traveling away from it for work-related reasons.  When it comes to travel time in the employment context, the answer to the question, “Do I need to pay for that?” often has no straightforward answer.  Rather, under the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) and U.S. Department of Labor (“DOL”) regulations, whether time an employee spends traveling is compensable depends on the type of travel.  In this month’s Time Is Money segment, we provide a refresher on when and how employers must pay employees for travel time.

    Blogs
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    December is not the shortest month of the year, but it always seems to go by the fastest.

    And with holidays and vacations, not to mention employees working remotely, it’s not unusual for matters to be put off until the new year -- or for a project or two to fall through the cracks.

    Often times, there are no real consequences if a project gets pushed off into the new year.

    But that’s not the case with new state or local wage-hour laws.

    As reflected in the charts below, minimum wages increased in dozens of states and localities when the new year rang in on January 1, 2022 – and exempt salary thresholds also increased in some states effective January 1, 2022.

    Blogs
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    Misclassifying workers as independent contractors rather than employees is a costly mistake.  Among the many issues arising from misclassification is potential liability under federal and state minimum wage and overtime laws.  As the laws continue to change and develop, so do the risks to contracting entities.

    Federal Changes

    Blogs
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    On Friday, October, 29, 2021, the Department of Labor (DOL) issued a final rule regarding how to determine which tipped employees may receive a “tip credit” in lieu of receiving the full minimum wage directly from the employer. The new rule restores the “80/20” rule rescinded under President Trump, requiring employers to pay employees at least the minimum wage if they spend more than 20% of their time working on tasks that do not specifically generate tips such as wiping down tables, filling salt and pepper shakers, and rolling silverware into napkins, or duties referred to in the industry as “side work.” The rule goes into effect on December 31, 2021 and the change represents continuation of a pattern that has continued across administrations with Presidents adopting and rescinding the rule over the past three administrations.

    Blogs
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    On September 1, 2021, Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey approved two versions of a ballot initiative (version 1, version 2) concerning the relationship between app-based drivers (such as those who transport passengers or deliver food) and the companies with which they contract. If passed, the ballot initiative will enact the Relationship Between Network Companies and App-Based Drivers Act (the “Act”) and classify such drivers as independent contractors, not employees. It will also require ride-sharing and food-delivery companies to provide them with certain benefits.

    Blogs
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    1. Introduction

    If you have hourly employees that earn bonuses, commissions, or other performance payments, this article is for you.

    Properly compensating such employees is often not as simple as paying “time and a half” or “double-time” for qualifying hours.  Rather, federal law, and the laws of many states, require employers to “recalculate” overtime rates to include certain types of non-hourly compensation and pay overtime at those higher rates.  Many employers fail to make such payments, and of those that attempt to pay overtime (and double-time) at rates which ...

    Blogs
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    California law generally requires employers to pay non-exempt employees a premium of one hour of pay for non-compliant meal and rest periods. Employers have typically paid such premiums by using the employees’ standard hourly rates. A new California Supreme Court decision requires employers to pay premiums at a higher rate when employees receive nondiscretionary compensation. This change in the law not only will require employers to adjust how they calculate meal and rest period premiums going forward, but it also exposes some of them to litigation for their past practices if ...

    Blogs
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    On May 25, 2021, both houses of the Illinois General Assembly approved an amendment to the State’s Wage Payment and Collection Act (“the Act”).  The change would require employers who violate the Act to pay damages of 5% of the amount of any underpayment of wages, compensation, or wage supplements for each month following the date of payment during which the amount(s) owed remain unpaid.  This represents a 150% increase to the penalty, as the statutory rate before this amendment was 2%.  The measure will take effect immediately upon signature by Governor J.B. Pritzker.

    The Act

    Blogs
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    For more than 80 years, federal law has provided a general right to premium pay for working overtime hours, originally just for covered employees, then later for employees of covered enterprises.  The laws of more than 30 states contain a comparable requirement, though in some instances differing in the particulars.

    This presumptive right to the overtime premium is, of course, subject to the familiar exemption construct whereby individuals whose employment satisfies one or more of the dozens of exempted categories fall outside the premium pay requirement.  Many of the most ...

    Blogs
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    I had planned to focus this month’s installment of “Time Is Money” on the practice of rounding timeclock entries, addressing the history behind the practice as well as factors that make rounding today a riskier proposition than it used to be.  Then, while reviewing our previous writings on the subject, I came across my colleague Mike Kun’s treatment of the topic in our July 2019 installment, where he already said pretty much everything I had to say.

    Back at the drawing board, it occurred to me that rounding is part of a broader challenge that businesses face: how best to record ...

    Blogs
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    A sometimes-overlooked requirement for classifying an employee as exempt from overtime is that, with limited exceptions, the employee must be paid on a “salary basis.” [1] Indeed, when employers fail to pay their exempt employees on a salary basis, they may be subject to lawsuits alleging exempt misclassification. As such, properly paying employees on a salary basis is critical to classifying employees as exempt.

    The General Rule

    Among other requirements, in order for an employer to classify an employee as exempt from overtime, the employee generally must be paid on a ...

    Blogs
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    As part of a “third wave” of executive orders, on January 22, 2021, President Biden issued an executive order instructing the Director of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management to “provide a report to the President with recommendations to promote a $15/hour minimum wage for Federal employees.”  The Biden Administration announced via a Fact Sheet published on the White House’s website that the move is purportedly designed to ensure that the federal government is a model employer:

    [Federal employees] keep us healthy, safe, and informed, and their work transcends partisan ...

    Blogs
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    On January 19, 2021, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (“WHD”) issued an Opinion Letter applying the Department’s recently-issued Final Rule concerning Independent Contractor Status under the Fair Labor Standards Act (the “Final Rule”).  This Opinion Letter provides helpful guidance to businesses, especially those in highly-regulated industries, on how to properly structure their relationships with independent contractors under the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”).

    As background, the FLSA’s minimum wage and overtime pay ...

    Blogs
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    To close out 2020, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (“WHD”) recently issued two new opinion letters addressing overtime payments for caregivers and travel time for partial-day teleworkers under the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”).  We recommend a close review of these opinion letters as they offer a helpful overview of key FLSA principles and may provide answers to questions shared by numerous employers.

    FLSA2020-19

    In Opinion Letter FLSA2020-19, the WHD addressed whether an employee who voluntarily teleworks for part of the day and works at the ...

    Blogs
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    At the time we are posting this, we are just weeks away from the inauguration of President-Elect Joseph Biden. Although perhaps not at the very top of the list of questions about the forthcoming Biden administration, somewhere on the list has to be this question: “What changes will we see in wage-hour law?”

    We don’t have the proverbial crystal ball, but there are a number of issues that the Biden administration may focus on at some point during the next four years, be it through legislation, new rules implemented by the Department of Labor (DOL) or even executive orders.  They may ...

    Blogs
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    Many employers may be eager to put 2020 in the rearview mirror.  But before ringing in the New Year, employers should carefully evaluate whether they need to make any changes to their current practices to ensure that they remain in compliance with state and local laws, including those relating to minimum wage.

    As reflected in the chart below, in 2021, minimum wage will increase in more than two dozen states, with most of the changes set to take effect on January 1.  Minimum wage will also increase at the local level in a number of counties and cities.  Accordingly, employers with minimum wage ...

    Blogs
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    In a continuing trend, employers are abandoning on-call scheduling as states and cities continue to pass predictive scheduling laws.

    1. What is Predictive Scheduling?

    Predictive scheduling laws require employers to give employees adequate notice of when they will work so that they can plan for and around their work shifts.  The idea is that, unlike on-call scheduling, predictable schedules make it easier for workers, especially part-time retail and restaurant workers, to meet their needs, such as working another job, attending school, or arranging childcare.  The laws generally ...

    Blogs
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    Many employers may—understandably—view gratuities as discretionary payments that customers leave in exchange for superior service.  After all, federal wage and hour regulations define “tips” as “sum[s] presented by a customer as a gift or gratuity in recognition of some service performed.”  29 C.F.R. § 531.52 (emphasis supplied).  The regulations also state that “compulsory charge[s] for service” are not tips.  29 C.F.R. § 531.55 (emphasis supplied).

    But in some cases, a mandatory charge may qualify as a tip that employers must distribute to staff under state or ...

    Blogs
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    We recently authored “Elections May Decide Fate of Gig Worker Classification Regs,” the first of a series of articles on wage and hour issues for Law360.  Subscribers can access the full version here - following is an excerpt:

    As the gig economy has grown, so too have questions about it. One of the most consequential questions in the past several years has been whether workers in the gig economy are properly classified as independent contractors for purposes of various federal and state statutes, or whether they should be classified as employees of the businesses with which they ...

    Blogs
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    Given the ongoing considerations businesses face with the COVID-19 health crisis, many employers have increased the amount of teleworking for employees, including many roles that ordinarily would not telework.  As the COVID-19 health crisis has progressed, employers have continued to extend their teleworking policies while other employers are gearing up to reopen offices.  With these ongoing health risks, it is important for employers to review their teleworking policies and practices to ensure that they are appropriately compensating employees under the Fair Labor ...

    Blogs
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    In employment, as in life generally, breaking up can be hard to do.  This is particularly so when a departing employee owes the employer money.  Most employers understand that applicable law often prohibits simply deducting such debts from an employee’s final paycheck.  Consider, for example, a recently terminated employee who refuses to return a $500 printer the employer provided to allow the employee to work from home.  In most states, absent an agreement in writing, wage payment laws prohibit the employer from deducting $500 from the employee’s final paycheck to recover the cost ...

    Blogs
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    As employers continue to deal with workplace issues related to COVID-19, you should be aware that the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (“WHD”) has indicated that it will be investigating allegations of wage and hour violations that have occurred as a result of the rapid workforce changes undertaken by many organizations earlier this year.   Unfortunately, as you may know, the WHD rarely announces those investigations in advance and, instead, employers typically learn of them when a letter arrives announcing 72 hours’ notice to produce payroll records, or a ...

    Blogs
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    As previously discussed, Colorado officially adopted the Colorado Overtime and Minimum Pay Standards Order # 36 (“COMPS Order”) on January 22, 2020, which went into effect on March 16, 2020.  However, the Division of Labor Standards and Statistics in the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment (“the Division”) has recently implemented temporary emergency modifications to the COMPS Order.  The temporary changes will remain in effect through July 14, 2020 (the “temporary period”), although the State intends to go through a formal notice and comment period to make ...

    Blogs
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    We encourage our readers to visit Workforce Bulletin, the newest blog from our colleagues at Epstein Becker Green (EBG).

    Workforce Bulletin will feature a range of cutting-edge issues—such as sexual harassment, diversity and inclusion, pay equity, artificial intelligence in the workplace, cybersecurity, and the impact of the coronavirus outbreak on human resources—that are of concern to employers across all industries. EBG's full announcement is here.

    Click here to subscribe for email notifications—you’ll receive a confirmation email to click.

    (And if you haven't ...

    Blogs
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    As previously discussed, Colorado has taken steps to increase the salary threshold for employees that fall under the “white collar” exemptions, following in the footsteps of Alaska, California, New York, Maine, and Washington State – and the federal Department of Labor. On January 22, 2020, the Colorado Department of Labor adopted the final Colorado Overtime and Minimum Pay Standards Order #36 (“COMPS Order”), which makes significant changes for both exempt and non-exempt employees. Most provisions become effective March 16, 2020, with the exception of the ...

    Blogs
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    It seems as though there is a minefield that employers must navigate to ensure that they fulfill their wage and hour obligations to their employees. Employers must somehow comply with overlapping and seemingly contradictory federal, state, district, county, and local requirements. The wave of civil actions that are filed against employers alleging wage and hour violations is not slowing. And given the potential financial consequences for non-compliance, illustrated in part by a $102 million award for technical paystub violations, meeting these requirements must be a ...

    Blogs
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    As winter once again approaches, employers, particularly those in cold-weather states, face the recurring specter of inclement weather affecting business operations and employee attendance.  While the weather may create stress and disruption for a business and its people, employers must not lose sight of the fact that the rules governing how you pay your employees continue to apply throughout any weather event.

    There are five main rules that employers need to keep in mind when bad weather strikes:

    1. If a business closes for any amount of time less than a full workweek, it must ...

    Blogs
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    After a false start three years ago, the federal Department of Labor (“DOL”) will finally be rolling out an increased minimum salary threshold for employees qualifying under the “white collar” exemptions. The increase in the salary threshold for professional, administrative, and executive exemptions (making up the “white collar” exemptions) under the Federal Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) will become effective on January 1, 2020.

    In order to qualify for one of these exemptions, there are three elements to meet:

    • The employee must be paid on a salary basis ...
    Blogs
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    California law has specific requirements regarding the payment of final wages to terminated employees. The failure to comply with those requirements can require an employer to pay an individual up to 30 days of pay – known as “waiting time” penalties. As “waiting time” claims are often pursued in the context of class actions, where plaintiffs seek up to 30 days of pay for each former employee, it is critical that employers understand when final wages must be paid. And that deadline is different depending up whether the company has terminated the employment or the employee has ...

    Blogs
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    What is considered compensable travel time pursuant to the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) is not always clear or intuitive to employers, even for those who usually have a good handle on wage and hour laws. This blog post hopefully will simplify the requirements set forth in the U.S. Department of Labor’s (“DOL”) regulations and interpretive guidance to help clarify when employees must be paid for travel time.

    Ordinary Home-to-Work Travel

    Likely not a surprise for most employers, employees are not entitled to pay for time that they normally spend commuting between their ...

    Blogs
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    The U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (“WHD”) continues to issue guidance at a rapid pace, releasing a new opinion letter regarding the retail or service establishment overtime exemption under the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”).  The letter brings clarity to a recurring issue affecting retailers.

    FLSA Section 7(i) Exemption

    As background, FLSA Section 7(i) exempts a retail or service establishment employee from the FLSA’s overtime pay requirements if (i) the employee’s regular rate of pay exceeds 1.5 times the federal minimum wage for any week ...

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    Illinois Governor Pritzger has signed a bill raising the Illinois minimum wage to $15 per hour by 2025, making Illinois the first Midwestern state to hike the minimum wage to that level. States on both coasts, including California, Massachusetts, and New Jersey, have already moved to enact such a hike.

    Currently, the minimum wage in Illinois is $8.25 per hour. Under the new legislation, the minimum wage will increase to $9.25 by January 1, 2020 and to $10 on July 1, 2020. The minimum wage will then increase by $1 per hour each January 1 until it reaches $15 per hour in 2025.

    The business ...

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    On February 1, 2019, the U.S. Department of Labor publicly designated Keith Sonderling as Acting Administrator of the Wage and Hour Division (“WHD”).  He joined WHD in September 2017 as a Senior Policy Advisor, receiving a promotion to Deputy Administrator last month.  Before joining the Department, he was a shareholder in the Gunster law firm in West Palm Beach, Florida, where he represented businesses in labor and employment matters.

    During his time with WHD, Sonderling has been a strong proponent of the agency’s Payroll Audit Independent Determination program (known as ...

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    Our colleagues Michael S. Kun, Jeffrey H. Ruzal, and Kevin Sullivan at Epstein Becker Green co-wrote a “Wage and Hour Self-Audits Checklist” for the Lexis Practice Advisor.

    The checklist identifies the main risk categories for wage and hour self-audits. To avoid potentially significant liability for wage and hour violations, employers should consider wage and hour self-audits to identify and close compliance gaps.

    Click here to download the Checklist in PDF format.  Learn more about the Lexis Practice Advisor.

    This excerpt from Lexis Practice Advisor®, a comprehensive ...

    Blogs
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    In Tze-Kit Mui v. Massachusetts Port Authority, Massachusetts’ highest court held that Massachusetts law does not require employers to pay departing employees for accrued, unused sick time within the timeframe prescribed for “wages,” as the term is defined by the Massachusetts Wage Act.

    In reaching its decision, the Court analyzed the plain meaning of “wages” under the Act and concluded that the legislature did not intend that “wages” would include sick time. The decision removes a significant concern for Massachusetts employers who are strictly liable for ...

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    As 2017 comes to a close, recent headlines have underscored the importance of compliance and training. In this Take 5, we review major workforce management issues in 2017, and their impact, and offer critical actions that employers should consider to minimize exposure:

    1. Addressing Workplace Sexual Harassment in the Wake of #MeToo
    2. A Busy 2017 Sets the Stage for Further Wage-Hour Developments
    3. Your “Top Ten” Cybersecurity Vulnerabilities
    4. 2017: The Year of the Comprehensive Paid Leave Laws
    5. Efforts Continue to Strengthen Equal Pay Laws in 2017
    Read the full Take 5 online or download ...
    Blogs
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    In 2017, a great many states and localities passed laws increasing minimum wages beginning on January 1, 2018. (Some passed laws that will be effective on July 1, 2018 or other dates.)

    Below is a summary of the minimum wage updates (and related tipped minimum wage requirements, where applicable) that go into effect on January 1, 2018, unless otherwise indicated.

    Current New
    State Categories Minimum Wage Tipped Minimum Wage Minimum Wage Tipped Minimum Wage
    Alaska $9.80 $9.84
    Arizona $10.00 $7.00 $10.50 $7.50
    California
    26 or more employees $10.50 $11.00
    25 or fewer employees $10.00
    Blogs
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    As we have discussed previously, in early September the U.S. Department of Labor (“DOL”) withdrew its appeal of last November’s ruling from the Eastern District of Texas preliminarily enjoining the Department’s 2016 Final Rule that, among other things, more than doubled the minimum salary required to satisfy the Fair Labor Standards Act’s executive, administrative, and professional exemptions from $455 per week ($23,660 per year) to $913 per week ($47,476 per year).  The DOL abandoned its appeal in light of the district court’s ruling on August 31, 2017 granting ...

    Blogs
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    As many will recall, the Department of Labor’s (“DOL”) overtime rule, increasing the salary threshold for overtime exemptions at the behest of the Obama administration, was scheduled to take effect on December 1, 2016. Months later, it remains in limbo before the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeal. And it apparently will remain in limbo for at least several more months.

    After publication of the final overtime rule on May 23, 2016, two lawsuits were filed by a coalition of 21 states and a number of business advocacy groups, claiming that the DOL exceeded its rulemaking authority in ...

    Blogs
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    In Romero v. Top-Tier Colorado LLC, the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that tips received by a restaurant server for hours in which she did not qualify as a tipped employee were not “wages” under the FLSA, and therefore should not be considered in determining whether she was paid the minimum wage.

    Tipped Employees & the FLSA

    The FLSA provides that employers may take a “tip credit” and pay employees as little as $2.13 per hour if: (i) the tip credit is applied to employees who customarily and regularly receive tips; (ii) the employee’s wages and tips are at least equal to the ...

    Blogs
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    A Maine dairy company has received a potentially expensive grammar lesson from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, which held on March 13, 2017, that the company’s delivery drivers may be eligible for up to $10 million in overtime pay, because the lack of a comma in the statute regarding exemptions from the state’s wage and hour law rendered the scope of the exemption ambiguous.

    Grammarians have long disputed whether writers should include a comma before the final item in a list—the so-called “serial” or “Oxford” comma.  Opponents of the serial comma consider ...

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    The Missouri Supreme Court has overturned a lower court’s ruling that St. Louis’ minimum wage ordinance is invalid, finding that the ordinance is not preempted by the state law.

    St. Louis City’s Ordinance 70078 (“the Ordinance”) provides for a series of increases to the minimum wage for employees working within the boundaries of St. Louis. The plaintiffs argued that Ordinance 70078 was preempted by the state minimum wage law.  The plaintiffs contended that state law affirmatively authorized employers to pay as little as $7.65 per hour, the state minimum wage rate.

    A trial ...

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    Our colleagues, Susan Gross Sholinsky, Dean L. Silverberg, Jeffrey M. Landes, Jeffrey H. Ruzal, Nancy L. Gunzenhauser, and Marc-Joseph Gansah have written an Act Now Advisory that will be of interest to many of our readers: “New York State Department of Labor Implements New Salary Basis Thresholds for Exempt Employees.

    Following is an excerpt:

    The New York State Department of Labor (“NYSDOL”) has adopted its previously proposed amendments to the state’s minimum wage orders to increase the salary basis threshold for executive and administrative employees ...

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    Even employers who were opposed to the new overtime regulations are in a quandary after the District Court for the Eastern District of Texas enjoined the Department of Labor from implementing new salary thresholds for the FLSA’s “white collar” exemptions.

    Will the injunction become permanent?  Will it be upheld by the Fifth Circuit? 

    Will the Department of Labor continue to defend the case when the Trump Administration is in place? 

    What does the rationale behind the District Court’s injunction (that the language of the FLSA suggests exempt status should be determined based ...

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    On October 21, 2016, a Pennsylvania appeals court found that a group of franchisees were in violation of the state’s Wage Payment and Collection Law (“WPCL”) when they required employees to be paid with payroll debit cards. While the WPCL only permitted wage payment in cash or check, the Pennsylvania court noted that voluntary use of payroll debit cards may be an appropriate method payment. In this case, the court held that mandatory use of payroll debit cards was not lawful, as it may subject the employee to fees without his or her consent.

    Two weeks later, on November 4, 2016, the ...

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    New Jersey employers should take note that on January 1, 2017, the state’s minimum wage will increase six cents, from $8.34 to $8.44.
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    Over the past year, there has been an increased discussion of Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) requirements for tipped employees. The courts have focused on a number of issues related to tipped employees, including addressing who can participate in tip pools and whether certain deductions may be made from tips. While the FLSA requires employers to pay a minimum wage of $7.25 per hour in most cases, Section 203(m) of the FLSA provides that employers may take a “tip credit” and pay as little as $2.13 per hour to employees who customarily and regularly receive tips, so long as two ...

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    When: Tuesday, October 18, 2016 8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

    Where: New York Hilton Midtown, 1335 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10019

    Epstein Becker Green’s Annual Workforce Management Briefing will focus on the latest developments in labor and employment law, including:

    • Latest Developments from the NLRB
    • Attracting and Retaining a Diverse Workforce
    • ADA Website Compliance
    • Trade Secrets and Non-Competes
    • Managing and Administering Leave Policies
    • New Overtime Rules
    • Workplace Violence and Active-Shooter Situations
    • Recordings in the Workplace
    • Instilling Corporate Ethics
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    In May, the Department of Labor (“DOL”) announced its final rule to increase the minimum salary for white collar exemptions.  With little more than two months to go before that new rule takes effect on December 1, 2016, employers still have time to decide how to address those otherwise exempt employees whose current salaries would not satisfy the new rule by either increasing their salaries or converting them to non-exempt status.

    But some of those decisions may not be easy ones.  And they may create some unexpected challenges, both financially and operationally.

    New Salary ...

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    [caption id="attachment_2743" align="alignright" width="113"] Michael D. Thompson[/caption]

    In Gonzalez v. Allied Concrete Industries, Inc., thirteen construction laborers filed suit in the Eastern District of New York.  The plaintiffs claimed they worked in excess of forty hours per week, but were not paid overtime in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act and the New York Labor Law.

    To obtain information regarding the plaintiffs’ activities during hours they claimed to have been working, the defendants sought an order compelling discovery of their ATM and cell phone ...

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    Nearly a year after the Department of Labor (“DOL”) issued its Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to address an increase in the minimum salary for white collar exemptions, the DOL has announced its final rule, to take effect on December 1, 2016.

    While the earlier notice had indicated that the salary threshold for the executive, administrative, and professional exemption would be increased from $23,660 ($455 per week) to $50,440 ($970 per week), the final rule will not raise the threshold that far.  Instead, it will raise it to $47,476 ($913 per week).

    According to the DOL’s Fact Sheet,

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    In recent years, employers across the country have faced a great many class action and collective action lawsuits in which employees have alleged they are entitled to be paid for the time spent in security screenings before they leave their employers’ premises – but after they have already clocked out for the day.  Retailers have been particularly susceptible to these claims as many require employees to undergo “bag checks” before they depart their stores to ensure that employees are not attempting to carry merchandise out in their bags or coats.

    In late 2014, in Integrity ...

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    In Naylor v. Securiguard, Inc., the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals held that an employer may be required to compensate employees for meal breaks if the employees are required to spend a significant portion of that period traveling to a required break area.

    Facts

    Securiguard employees guarded several gates to a Naval air station.  During their shifts, the guards received two scheduled thirty-minute meal breaks.  The guards expressed a desire to eat at their posts, but Securiguard prohibited them from doing so (out of concern that the customer would think they were shirking their ...

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    Many of our clients have downloaded our free, first-of-its-kind Wage & Hour Guide for Employers app, available for Apple, Android, and BlackBerry devices.

    We have just updated the app, and the update is a significant one.

    While the app originally included summaries of federal wage-hour laws and those for several states and the District of Columbia, the app now includes wage-hour summaries for all 50 states, as well as D.C. and Puerto Rico.

    Now, more than ever, we can say that the app truly makes nationwide wage-hour information available in seconds. At a time when wage-hour ...

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    Reversing a decision by the United States District Court for the District of Columbia, an August 21, 2015 decision by the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in Home Care Association of America v. Weil (pdf) has approved a regulation by the United States Department of Labor (“DOL”) extending federal minimum wage and overtime protections to home care workers and live-in domestic service employees employed by third parties.

    We previously wrote about the decision by the District Court for the District of Columbia that vacated a DOL regulation that had been ...

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    More than a year after its efforts were first announced, the U.S. Department of Labor (“DOL”) has finally announced its proposed new rule pertaining to overtime. And that rule, if implemented, will result in a great many “white collar” employees previously treated as exempt becoming eligible for overtime pay for work performed beyond 40 hours in a workweek – or receiving salary increases in order that their exempt status will continue.

    In 2014, President Obama directed the DOL to enhance the “white collar” exemptions to the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA” ...

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    There is an unusual wage issue for 2015 that will affect many employers that pay exempt employees on a bi-weekly basis (rather than weekly, semi-monthly or monthly).

    It is an issue that may have both financial and legal repercussions.

    And it is an issue we suspect many employers had not noticed or considered.

    With 52 weeks in a year, there normally are 26 bi-weekly pay periods in a calendar year.  In 2015, however, there will be 27 for many employers.

    This oddity occurs every 11 years.  In short, it happens because 26 bi-weekly paychecks only cover 364 days in a year, not 365 (or 366 in Leap ...

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    by Michael Kun

    We're very pleased to announce that a brand-new version of our free, first-of-its-kind app, the Wage & Hour Guide for Employers, is now available for Apple, Android, and BlackBerry devices. The new app takes advantage of a software-as-a-service programming platform developed by Panvista Mobile.

    Our newest version of the app is not only available to users of a variety of devices, but it offers simpler, faster, and more useful ways for employers to locate wage and hour information at the touch of a fingertip.  As new issues are constantly emerging in this area, we’re ...

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    By: Michael D. Thompson

    ESPN broadcaster Keith Olbermann recently held a mock press conference in which he pretended to be the new Commissioner of Baseball, and explained how he would improve the game in that role.  For example, World Series games would start early enough for kids to watch them, the designated hitter would be eliminated, and Vin Scully would call all World Series games.

    I’d like to do something similar.  I am pleased to inform you that, for the rest of this blog entry, let’s assume that I am the new Secretary of Labor.

    Effective immediately:

    1. An employer’s liability to ...
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    What should an employer do when a departing employee fails to cash his final paycheck?
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    President Obama announced in his State of the Union address that he will issue an executive order increasing the minimum wage for employees of federal contractors to $10.10 per hour. Most of those employees, however, are already paid in excess of this amount under statutes such as the Service Contract Act and the Davis-Bacon Act.
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    On January 15, 2014, the Mayor of the District of Columbia signed a bill increasing the D.C. minimum wage to $11.50, in three steps by July 1, 2016. This caps off a recent coordinated effort in D.C. and suburban Maryland's Montgomery and Prince George's counties to increase the regional minimum wage to $11.50.
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    by Michael Kun

    We heard you loud and clear.  You’d like our EBG wage-hour app, currently available for use on Apple products, to be available on Android devices, too.

    Consider it done.  Or, more accurately, almost done.

    The Android version of the EBG wage-hour app will be available for download in early 2014.

    And, yes, it will be free.

    Look for more details here.

    In the meantime, if you do not have an Apple device, PDF versions of our federal and state wage-hour guides, as well as other materials, remain available on our webpage.

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