Over the past five years, ten states and several local jurisdictions across the country have passed wage transparency laws in an effort to address gender and racial wage disparities. Wage transparency laws may apply to wage range disclosures and promotional opportunities in job advertisements, among current employees and job applicants. In this changing landscape, employers must be diligent in order to comply with these laws, given their variety with respect to who must receive disclosures, which factual circumstances trigger disclosure requirements, and what information ...
Gratuities are often helpful for both employees and their employers: tips supplement a worker’s income, and federal law and the laws of most states allow employers to credit a portion of a worker’s tips toward the company’s minimum wage obligations. But what exactly is a tip and how do employers take this so-called “tip credit?”
What is a tip or gratuity?
Generally speaking, the FLSA requires that employers pay employees the required minimum wage and overtime for all hours worked in excess of 40 hours in any workweek (at a rate of one and one-half times the employee’s regular rate of pay). Accordingly, courts have consistently held that the FLSA provides employees with a basis to sue for the recovery of unpaid wages if an employee is paid below the required minimum wage or an employee is not adequately compensated for overtime hours worked in excess of 40 hours.
But what about claims that do not fit neatly into either of those two buckets? Cue in gap-time claims.
We seem to say this every year -- December always seems to go by far too fast. And with holidays and vacations, not to mention many employees still 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.
California plaintiffs’ lawyers typically bring every type of wage-hour claim they can. Increasingly, however, they have focused on one type of claim – wage statement violations.
As we have previously written about, bringing class and representative actions under California’s Private Attorneys General Act (“PAGA”) alleging that employers did not fully comply with California’s onerous wage statement laws has become a lucrative practice for the plaintiffs’ bar. Given the flurry of litigation, it is beneficial for employers that do business in California to review their wage statements to best ensure compliance.
Employers based outside of California can suffer knockout blows if they enter the ring as employers in California and operate under the mistaken assumption that adherence to the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) is the same as complying with the California Labor Code and Wage Orders. Below are the main ways (but certainly not the only ways) employers are “caught cold” because they do not receive or apply California wage-and-hour training and learn the hard way that the plaintiffs’ bar will not pull any punches.
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.
Neither fish nor fowl
Salaried with overtime
Brings pain and regret
We don’t see a lot of wage and hour poetry these days, but if we did, it would probably look a bit like the foregoing example from an anonymous former U.S. Department of Labor official. When it comes to paying office workers who do not qualify for an overtime exemption, businesses often look for ways to treat those workers as much like exempt personnel as possible, including by paying wages in the form of a salary rather than hourly pay. Salaried nonexempt status ordinarily starts with good motives, but it frequently ends with claims for unpaid overtime. In this month’s Time Is Money segment, we explain that although paying overtime-eligible employees on a salary basis is a lawful, available option, it comes with significant risks that an employer must understand and navigate in order to pay these workers correctly.
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.
The doctrine “joint employer” liability has received significant attention in recent months, including on this blog. Under the Fair Labor Standards Act, an employee may be deemed to have multiple employers—each of whom would be liable jointly for all aspects of FLSA compliance, including with regard to the payment of wages—in connection with his or her performance of the same work. During the prior administration, the U.S. DOL issued a rule intended to standardize the parameters of joint employer liability. Months later, however, a federal court invalidated a portion of the new rule, holding that it impermissibly narrowed the scope of the joint employer doctrine. And, in July 2021, the DOL announced its outright repeal of the rule—i.e., whether a business might face joint employer liability will again be governed by the multi-factor “economic reality” test subject to varying judicial interpretations.
Many New York families employ domestic workers –individuals who care for a child, serve as a companion for a sick, convalescing or elderly person, or provide housekeeping or any other domestic service. They may be unaware of federal and New York requirements that guarantee those domestic workers minimum wage for all hours worked, paid meal breaks, and overtime compensation.
In addition, New York imposes specific requirements on employers regarding initial pay notices, pay frequency, and pay statements that also apply to persons who employ domestic workers.
To avoid inadvertent wage and hour violations, it is important that persons who employ domestic workers in New York understand the relevant laws regarding domestic workers and approach what many understandably consider a personal relationship as a formal, business one for wage and hour purposes.
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 ...
With the United States in the midst of dealing with the coronavirus pandemic, there has been focused attention on the rollout of vaccines approved for emergency use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and the actual number of individuals being vaccinated. Presently, 250 million COVID-19 vaccine shots have been administered and individuals 16 years of age and older are eligible to receive the vaccine. Now, in an effort to get more people vaccinated, employers are being encouraged to provide paid time off for employees who have not yet been vaccinated against the virus.
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 ...
With the end of the year just around the corner, many employers may be contemplating giving year-end bonuses to their non-exempt employees. And bonuses, year-end or otherwise, can create problems for employers when it comes to calculating overtime compensation for those employees.
One mistake some employers make concerns calculating an employee’s regular rate for purposes of paying overtime premiums. Indeed, many employers have found truth in the adage “no good deed goes unpunished” after implementing bonus policies or issuing other forms of compensation intended to ...
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 ...
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 ...
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 ...
Many hospitality businesses, such as restaurants and bars, have found themselves restructuring their daily operations in light of the current global COVID-19 health crisis, and the subsequent federal, state, and local shelter in place orders. For instance, where restaurants and bars once served customers on a dine-in basis, perhaps they are now restricted to take-out only or delivery options, and, as a result, many employers who are still operating in the wake of the pandemic now have very few employees with customer-facing roles.
Because of the necessary changes in daily ...
Generally, the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) requires employers to compensate their non-exempt employees for all time that they are required or allowed to perform work, regardless of where and when the work is done. However, an exception exists for small amounts of time that are otherwise compensable work time but challenging to record, otherwise known as the de minimis doctrine. Of course, the million-dollar question is how much time is considered de minimis. Unfortunately, there is no bright-line rule and the answer may differ under federal law and California law, or ...
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: ...
Most employers are well aware that employees must be paid on a “salary basis” to be considered exempt from the overtime requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”). This means employees must receive the same amount of pay each week regardless of the amount or quality of work they perform for a given week. Accordingly, exempt employees must be paid their full weekly salary for any week in which they perform work, whether or not the employee has actually worked a full work week. See 29 C.F.R. § 541.602(a)(1).
One issue that may fly under the radar, however, is which ...
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 ...
For decades, 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 it.
But the question employers with time-rounding policies should ask themselves today is this: Why are we still rounding our employees’ time?
If your answer to that question is Because we have always done it, or Because someone told us it is lawful, it might be time to rethink the issue.
(And if your answer is ...
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