work·week | \ ˈwərk-ˌwēk \

noun

Perhaps one of the most important terms of art under the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”), an employer’s designated workweek impacts nearly every aspect of an employee’s pay – from minimum wage and overtime to application of most exemptions. Let’s break down this concept.

What is a workweek?

The FLSA regulations define workweek as “a fixed and regularly recurring period of 168 hours – seven consecutive 24-hour periods.” Contrary to popular belief, a workweek need not coincide with a calendar week, nor must it align with an employer’s hours of operation. Instead, it can begin on any day and at any hour of the day. However, the key is that once a workweek is determined, it must remain fixed regardless of the employees’ hours worked with limited exception.

Continue Reading Time Is Money: A Quick Wage-Hour Tip on … Determining and Changing Workweeks

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.

Continue Reading Time Is Money: A Quick Wage-Hour Tip on … Avoiding Common California Wage and Hour Mistakes and “Going the Distance”

Litigators who defend cases brought under the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”), particularly ‘collective actions” alleging wage-and-hour violations, often have been able to counter, or even sometimes support, allegations that arbitration agreements have been waived where the conduct of a party has caused prejudice to the other side. In the case of Morgan v. Sundance, Inc., a unanimous Supreme Court has now held that the determinant of waiver is solely dependent upon the nature and magnitude of the actions of the party that might be inconsistent with arbitration, without respect to alleged prejudice.

Continue Reading Supreme Court Holds That Judges Can’t Invent Rules Governing Arbitration Waiver

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.

Continue Reading Time Is Money: A Quick Wage-Hour Tip on … Travel Time Pay

As discussed here, in January 2021, in the waning days of the Trump administration, the U.S. Department of Labor issued a Final Rule setting forth for the first time a standard for differentiating employees and independent contractors under the Fair Labor Standards Act.  The scheduled effective date of the new rule was March 8, 2021.

Continue Reading Federal Court Reinstates Trump-Era Independent Contractor Rule

A number of years ago, I received a kind note around the holidays from my opposing counsel in a wage-hour class action, thanking me and my firm for being their “partners” in addressing employment issues.

Maybe the word he used wasn’t “partners,” but it was something close to it.

At first, I must admit that I thought he was joking.

Then I realized that this attorney, for whom I have great respect, got it.

He got that employers are not looking to violate employment laws, and that the attorneys who represent them are not trying to help their clients violate the laws.

Continue Reading A Very Simple Proposal to Tweak the FLSA to Benefit Both Employees and Employers

Over the past few years, lower courts in Massachusetts have grappled with determining whether the “ABC test” under the independent-contractor statute provides the proper framework for assessing joint-employment liability. The Supreme Judicial Court (SJC) has finally answered that question.  On December 13, 2021, in Jinks v. Credico (USA) LLC, the SJC held that the independent-contractor statute’s “ABC test” does not apply and instead adopted the Fair Labor Standards Act’s (FLSA) “totality of the circumstances” approach to joint employment.

Credico was a client broker for independent direct marketing companies. It contracted with DFW Consultants, Inc. (DFW) to provide sales and marketing services for its clients in Massachusetts. To provide those services, DFW hired three of the plaintiffs – Kyana Jinks, Antwione Taylor, and Lee Tremblay – as salespeople. DFW classified Jinks and Taylor as independent contractors and Tremblay as an employee.

Continue Reading Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Rejects “ABC Test” for Determining Joint Employment Under Minimum Fair Wage Law

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.

Continue Reading Time Is Money: A Quick Wage-Hour Tip on … New York’s New Rule on Contractors’ Liability for Subcontractor Employee Wages

On June 1, 2021 the Southern District of Florida granted the motion by Uber Technologies, Inc. (“Uber”) to compel arbitration, finding that the company’s drivers did not engage in sufficient interstate commerce to meet the interstate commerce exclusion in the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA).

Plaintiffs Kathleen Short and Harold White brought a class action against Uber alleging that the company’s policy of classifying its drivers as independent contractors violates the Fair Labor Standards Act and the Florida Minimum Wage Act because the company failed to pay drivers the minimum wage. Uber sought to enforce its arbitration agreement which unambiguously required plaintiffs to pursue any potential claims in an individual arbitration.

Continue Reading Federal Court in Florida Rules That Federal Arbitration Act Exclusion Does Not Apply to Uber Drivers

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.

Continue Reading Time Is Money: A Quick Wage-Hour Tip on … Compensating Domestic Workers in New York