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 ...
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:
On May 3, 2023, New York Governor Kathy Hochul announced – and then signed into law – the New York Legislature’s 2024 Budget Agreement (“Budget”), which includes increases to the state’s minimum wage. Effective January 1, 2024, the minimum wage will increase to $16 per hour in New York City and Nassau, Suffolk, and Westchester counties, and to $15 per hour in the remainder of the state. The minimum wage will then increase by another $.50 each year in 2025 and 2026—reaching $17 per hour in downstate New York by 2026. Subsequent annual increases to the minimum wage will be tied to the inflation rate. The State Department of Labor (DOL) is required to publish future adjusted minimum wage rates by no later than October 1st of each year.
In reversing a Nevada district court’s grant of summary judgment, the Ninth Circuit, in Cadena v. Customer Connexx LLC, recently held that the time call center employees spent booting up their computers is compensable. Because a functioning computer was necessary for the call center employees to do their job, the court unanimously agreed that the time required to turn on their computer and log in was “integral and indispensable to their principal activities” and, therefore, compensable, subject to certain limitations.
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.
The Wage and Hour Division of the U.S. Department of Labor (“WHD”) issued six opinion letters in January 2021. They address a number of important issues under the Fair Labor and Standards Act (“FLSA”). To ensure wage and hour compliance, we recommend reviewing these letters closely and consulting counsel with any questions as to how they may apply to a specific business situation.
In FLSA2021-1, the WHD addressed whether account managers employed by a life science products manufacturer were properly classified as exempt from the FLSA minimum wage and ...
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 ...
With summer rapidly approaching and COVID-19 shelter-in-place orders still in effect, many companies face an important and difficult decision of canceling this year’s summer programs, delaying start dates or conducting programs virtually. This ultimately will be a business decision with no one-size-fits-all answer.
A good first step is to assess whether the influx of new summer workers will help or hinder current operations. Are temporary summer interns a boost to productivity or a drag on experienced employees who may be called upon to train and mentor them? Will the employer expect to offer employment to these summer recruits following the internship?
In addition, given the seismic nature of COVID-19 that has indiscriminately shaken businesses in most industries, can an employer’s business afford to bring on temporary summer workers and, if so, does the business have the literal and figurative bandwidth to support these workers, especially if they will be teleworking for at least part of the summer?
Below are five compliance and management issues employers should consider for their upcoming summer programs.
Typically employers have a pre-employment screening process in place for summer interns/analysts/associates, which may include, among other things, screening for illegal drugs and controlled substances; investigating and verifying criminal history; and verifying education and prior employment history. Many steps in the screening process take place in person. However, even where new hires may be asked to commence employment remotely, including an incoming summer class, compliance is still possible.
Since the start of COVID-19 pandemic, the federal government has relaxed many of the regulatory requirements for onboarding new hires. On March 20, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security announced that for the next 60 days or for the duration of the National Emergency (whichever is sooner), employers with staff teleworking due to COVID-19 can obtain and inspect new employees’ identity and employment authorization documents remotely rather in the employee’s physical presence, as long as they provide written documentation of their remote onboarding and teleworking policy for each employee.
In addition to its recent, exigent responsibility of preparing guidance on the protections and relief offered by the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (“WHD”) has issued three new opinion letters addressing the excludability of certain types of payments from the regular rate of pay under the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”). While these opinion letters do not tread new ground, they are useful reminders of important regular rate principles and merit careful review.
As background, under the FLSA, an employer ...
With the March 16, 2020 effective date of the new rule interpreting joint employer status under the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) almost upon us, employers should brush up on the updated guidance and review their relationships with workers to ensure compliance. Otherwise, they may face the expensive possibility of being held jointly and severally liable under the FLSA for all of the hours the individuals worked in the workweek, including hours worked for a different company.
The New Rule
A joint employment relationship may arise under two potential scenarios.
Scenario 1: ...
On December 6, 2019, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals held that judicial approval is not required for offers of judgment to settle Fair Labor and Standards Act (“FLSA”) claims made pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 68(a). This development may provide employers with a valuable strategic tool for use in FLSA cases, at least in the Second Circuit, allowing the parties to include terms in offers of judgment that the courts might disallow were court approval required.
Generally speaking, Rule 68 offers of judgment are a pre-trial mechanism whereby defendants can cap their ...
Our colleagues Adriana S. Kosovych, Jeffrey H. Ruzal, and Steven M. Swirsky at Epstein Becker Green have a post on the Hospitality Labor and Employment Law blog that will be of interest to our readers: “DOL Proposes New Rule to Determine Joint Employer Status under the FLSA.”
Following is an excerpt:
In the first meaningful revision of its joint employer regulations in over 60 years, on Monday, April 1, 2019 the Department of Labor (“DOL”) proposed a new rule establishing a four-part test to determine whether a person or company will be deemed to be the joint employer of persons ...
Our colleagues Jeffrey H. Ruzal, Adriana S. Kosovych, and Judah L. Rosenblatt, attorneys at Epstein Becker Green, co-authored an article in Club Director, titled “Recent Trends in State and Local Wage and Hour Laws.”
Following is an excerpt:
As the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) appears to have relaxed its employee protective policy-making and enforcement efforts that grew during the Obama administration, increasingly states and localities have enacted their own, often more protective, employee-protective laws, rules and regulations. To ensure full wage and hour ...
Depending on the jurisdictions within which they operate, certain employers and their counsel will soon see a significant change in early mandatory discovery requirements in individual wage-hour cases brought under the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”).
A new set of initial discovery protocols recently published by the Federal Judicial Center (“FJC”), entitled Initial Discovery Protocols For Fair Labor Standards Act Cases Not Pleaded As Collective Actions (“FLSA Protocols”), available here, expands a party’s initial disclosure requirements to include ...
Our colleague Adriana S. Kosovych, associate at Epstein Becker Green, has a post on the Hospitality Employment and Labor blog that will be of interest to many of our readers: “Chipotle Exploits Wide Variation Among Plaintiffs to Defeat Class and Collective Certification.”
Following is an excerpt:
A New York federal court recently declined to certify under Rule 23 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (“Rule 23”) six classes of salaried “apprentices” at Chipotle restaurants asserting claims for overtime pay under New York Labor Law (“NYLL”) and parallel state ...
- D.C. Expands Coverage of Minimum Wage Law
- Epstein Becker Green’s Free Wage-Hour App Includes Updates on New 2024 Laws
- Wage War: Massachusetts Trial Court Rejects Globe Ex-President’s Profit-Sharing Claim Disguised as Wage Act Violation
- Time Is Money: A Quick Wage-Hour Tip on … Inclement Weather Pay Obligations
- New Independent Contractor Rule Facing Multiple Legal Challenges