Category Archives: Wage & Hour

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DOL Overtime Proposals—Part II: Salary Change Consequences and “Discretionary” Bonus Clarification

Salary
Double-Barreled Rulemaking. Last month, we commented on the Department of Labor’s (DOL) March 7, 2019, proposed rulemaking to increase the salary test threshold for overtime exemptions, potentially making another million or so people eligible for overtime pay. Next, in a companion rulemaking proposal, issued March 28, 2019, and summarized in our post last week, the DOL announced … Continue reading this entry

DOL at it Again: New Proposed Rules Published to Clarify Regular Rate

Proposed
On March 28, 2019, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) announced a new proposed rule that would clarify that certain payments and benefits provided by employers do not factor in to employees’ “regular rate,” which is used to calculate overtime pay. This latest announcement is on top of a flurry of recent activity from DOL … Continue reading this entry

DOL Publishes Guidance On H-1B Requirements

DOL
On March 15, 2019, the Wage and Hour Division of the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) issued a Field Assistance Bulletin (Bulletin) for all DOL District Directors providing guidance on how U.S. petitioners of H-1B visas must comply with mandatory posting requirements related to petitioners’ H-1B petitions. See Bulletin here. H-1B employment visa petitions are … Continue reading this entry

DOL Issues New FMLA, FLSA Guidance to Employers

DOL
Last week, the Department of Labor (DOL) Wage and Hour Division (WHD) issued its first three opinion letters of 2019 concerning the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). These opinion letters are a helpful tool for employers to understand their rights and responsibilities under the law. Employers may even rely … Continue reading this entry

DOL Issues Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to Increase Salary Thresholds

Proposed
On March 7, 2019, the Department of Labor (DOL) issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) that would increase the minimum salaried basis threshold required to be paid to employees under the white collar exemptions (e.g., executive, administrative, and professional). Under current regulations, to avoid paying overtime, employers must pay employees at least $455/week ($23,660/year) … Continue reading this entry

Your Get of Out Jail Free Card: Tips to Avoid Pitfalls Under the Texas Wage Theft Act

jail
In the classic version of the iconic board game Monopoly, “Monopoly Jail” is the first corner space after “Go.” When playing the game, no one really wants to be sent to jail, as it immediately takes away your turn and ends your ability to keep collecting money and property. The same is true about your … Continue reading this entry

Michigan’s New Minimum Wage and Sick Leave Laws

Michigan
On December 13, 2018, Michigan’s governor signed into law two bills affecting employers in Michigan: a minimum wage law and a paid sick leave law. Versions of the laws were originally adopted in September 2018, when the Michigan legislature took advantage of a state process allowing it to adopt proposals that would otherwise be on … Continue reading this entry

Putting PAID to Non-Compliant Payroll Practices: Is the DOL’s Payroll Self-Audit Program Right for You?

payroll
Remember full-service gas stations? These days, we have self-service pumps. Remember cashiers at the grocery store? Now, most chains offer self-service checkout. Remember the DOL auditing your labor practices? Not so fast – they still do that. But now employers can take the “do-it-yourself” approach too!  While it is easy to see the convenience and … Continue reading this entry

You Can Pay Exempt Employees Their Guaranteed Salaries on an Hourly, Daily, or Shift Basis, and the Department of Labor Has Given Some Tips on How to Do It Correctly

Proposed
Human resources and other professionals who review job positions for possible exemptions under the federal wage and hour law (the Fair Labor Standards Act or FLSA) are familiar with the “salary basis” and “job duties” tests. Employees who work in jobs that meet both tests and who work in true executive, administrative, or professional capacities … Continue reading this entry

Court Strikes Down Austin’s Paid Sick Leave Ordinance

OSHA
Earlier this year, the city of Austin became the first Texas city to join the growing number of localities throughout the nation passing legislation requiring employers to provide paid sick leave to their employees.  However, this past Friday, November 16, 2018, the Austin-based 3rd Court of Appeals issued an opinion that will prevent the local … Continue reading this entry

When is a “Bonus” Really a “Commission”? A Helpful Reminder to Ensure Your Pay Plans Comply with State Laws

Commission
In the past, we have highlighted some of the legal risks of employing commission-based employees, as well as some of the methods for limiting those risks.  A new court decision out of Illinois provides a good reminder that vaguely described policies and restrictive payment rules can expose employers to large liabilities.… Continue reading this entry

Do You Really Need to go to That Seminar?

#MeToo
With only a few exceptions (e.g., harassment training in California), employment-related training is voluntary, not mandatory.  We all have so many demands on our time and not enough time in the day to meet them.  As an HR professional, sometimes the last thing you want to do is go to another seminar about harassment, or … Continue reading this entry

Pay Equity Law Update

Pay
New Connecticut Pay Equity Law On May 22, 2018, Connecticut Gov. Dannel P. Malloy signed Public Act No. 18-8, “An Act Concerning Pay Equity,” into law. The new Connecticut law follows a recent trend by states to enact laws prohibiting employers from seeking salary history from prospective employees. Connecticut now joins California, Delaware, Massachusetts (see below), … Continue reading this entry

New California Laws – 2018

California
We are writing to bring you up to date regarding key California employment laws that take effect in the upcoming year. What follows is a description of newly approved California laws, effective January 1, 2018, at least some of which may impact your company directly if you have employees in the Golden State.… Continue reading this entry

DOL to Issue Opinion Letters

Secretary Acosta announced today, while testifying before a Senate appropriations committee, that the DOL will revive its former practice of issuing opinion letters. Under the Obama administration, the DOL stopped issuing opinion letters which were often used by employers to gain compliance assistance. The DOL received much criticized for that decision. Additionally, Secretary Acosta stated … Continue reading this entry

Senate Confirms Acosta as Next Secretary of Labor

On April 27, 2017, the U.S. Senate confirmed Alexander Acosta as the next U.S. Secretary of Labor by  vote of 60-38.  Acosta is a former U.S. Department of Justice and National Labor Relations Board member.  Secretary Acosta will now face the monumental task of coordinating Trump’s policy shifts within the department.  A key issue demanding his … Continue reading this entry

Top 5 Mistakes Employers Make with Their Employee Handbooks

As 2016 winds down and a new year approaches, now is a great time for employers to think about their employee handbooks and employment policies in general.  As employers go about that thought-process, here are a few common mistakes employers should try to avoid: (1) Self-Regulation:  Employers often include items in handbooks that are not … Continue reading this entry

Court Issues Injunction Against New Salary Thresholds

In a much anticipated decision, Judge Amos Mazzant, United States District Court Judge for the Eastern District of Texas, issued a nationwide injunction prohibiting the Department of Labor from implementing the regulations that were to take effect on December 1 for the new salary thresholds for exempt, so-called “white collar” employees.  Judge Mazzant found that … Continue reading this entry

Court Takes Injunction on Salary Threshold Levels Under Advisement

Today, Judge Mazzant of the Eastern District of Texas Sherman Division heard arguments on an Emergency Motion for Preliminary Injunction regarding changes to the federal salaried exemption threshold, which, absent an injunction, become effective on December 1, 2016. During the hearing, which lasted over three hours, Judge Mazzant asked several questions that provide insight into … Continue reading this entry

Restaurant Employers Take Note—the Fifth Circuit Offers Instruction on Proper Deductions from Credit Card Tips

The Fifth Circuit recently decided how much a restaurant employer could deduct from an employee’s tips received by credit card to offset the costs associated with collecting and distributing the tips. In Steele v. Leasing Enterprises, Limited, the Fifth Circuit concluded the employer can only deduct the direct costs associated with paying out the tips. … Continue reading this entry

New Overtime Rules To Be Announced Wednesday

Several news sources are reporting that the Department of Labor will announce its much anticipated overtime rules on Wednesday, May 18, 2016.  The political pundits believe these final regulations will include a new salaried basis test of $47,500 ($913.46 per week).  This amount is more than double the current threshold of $23,660.  Currently, the speculation … Continue reading this entry

Joint Employment Concerns Grow for Franchisors

Recent guidance issued by the Department of Labor ensures that, like 2015, joint employment will remain a hot topic for franchisors in 2016. Last year, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) captured the full attention of the franchise industry by “restating” the standard for finding joint employment in Browning-Ferris Industries of California, Inc., 362 N.L.R.B. … Continue reading this entry

United States Department of Labor Intensifies Focus on Independent Contractor Classifications with New Administrator's Interpretation

Last month, the United States Department of Labor issued Administrator’s Interpretation No. 2015-1, regarding “The Application of the Fair Labor Standards Act’s ‘Suffer or Permit’ Standard in the Identification of Employees Who Are Misclassified as Independent Contractors.”  While the Interpretation does not represent a change in the law, it is certainly an indication that the … Continue reading this entry