New executive actions target equal pay for women

April 08, 2014 - by: Tammy Binford 2 COMMENTS

President Barack Obama is once again using executive action related to the pay American workers earn. A White House fact sheet says the actions are aimed at fighting pay discrimination and strengthening enforcement of equal pay laws.

In one action, Obama signed a presidential memorandum instructing Secretary of Labor Tom Perez to establish new regulations requiring federal contractors to submit more data to the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL). The president wants the DOL to collect summary data on compensation paid to employees, including data by sex and race.

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Obama pushing to make more workers eligible for overtime

March 12, 2014 - by: Tammy Binford 0 COMMENTS

The latest development in President Barack Obama’s continuing effort to boost pay for low-wage workers is coming in the form of a plan to increase the number of workers who  are eligible for overtime pay.

A March 11 report on The New York Times website says Obama will direct the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) to change its regulations so that fewer workers will be ineligible for overtime pay because of their classification as executive or professional employees.

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Categories: DOL / Federal Regulations / FLSA

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Supreme Court favors employer in donning, doffing case

January 29, 2014 - by: Tammy Binford 0 COMMENTS

The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled in favor of the employer in a closely watched donning and doffing case.

The high court ruled on January 27 that U.S. Steel Corp. did not have to pay a group of employees for time spent changing into and out of certain protective gear. In Sandifer v. U.S. Steel Corp., workers sued to be paid for time spent donning and doffing the gear even though the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) says that time spent “changing clothes” at the beginning or end of each workday can be excluded from compensable time unless otherwise negotiated in a collective bargaining agreement.

The workers filing the lawsuit claimed the gear was personal protective equipment rather than clothing. But the Supreme Court ruled that the gear in question could largely be considered clothing, and therefore, they didn’t have to be paid for time spent putting it on and taking it off.

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Weather, power outages stir up pay issues

October 30, 2012 - by: HR Hero Alerts 0 COMMENTS

The latest reports coming out of the northeast say that there are at least 7 million people without power because of Hurricane Sandy, and that number is expected to grow before it gets better. So when you close your business because of bad weather or power outages, are you required to pay employees? Here are the answers in a few common scenarios.

Q When a company closes because of inclement weather, must you pay an hourly nonexempt employee for the days the business was closed?

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U.S. Supreme Court rules drug reps are exempt as “outside salesmen”

By Nancy Williams

Pharmaceutical representatives who persuade physicians to prescribe specific drugs don’t make any actual sales. They can’t because the products they promote can be sold legally only through a doctor’s prescription to an individual patient. Yet for years, it has been a common industry practice to categorize such employees as outside sales representatives under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and thus exempt from federal overtime pay requirements.

A lawsuit by pharmaceutical reps challenged the practice, raising the specter of huge potential overtime pay liability for the industry. Today that concern evaporated with the U.S. Supreme Court’s 5-4 ruling that the historical classification of pharmaceutical representatives as outside sales reps is correct under the FLSA.

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New Rules Proposed to Provide FLSA Protections to In-Home Care Workers

December 15, 2011 - by: HR Hero 0 COMMENTS

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) is proposing a rule change that would expand minimum wage and overtime protections for many employees in the home-care industry.

A statement from the White House on December 15 said that if implemented, the proposed rule would affect nearly two million workers who provide in-home care services for the elderly and infirm.

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Categories: FLSA

Employers Warned of New Misclassification Dangers (video)

November 07, 2011 - by: HR Hero 0 COMMENTS

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) is focusing “an enormous amount of attention” on misclassifying workers as exempt, non-exempt, and independent contractors and is throwing significant resources at the problem, according to attorney Susan G. Fentin, who spoke at the recent Advanced Employment Issues Symposium in Nashville, Tennessee.

Plus, the DOL and the IRS are teaming up to share data in an effort to find classification errors, says Fentin. But a new IRS program allows qualifying employers a break on the tax liability for past mistakes. Another issue to watch, though: being on the hook for health insurance benefits for workers misclassified as contractors.

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Categories: FLSA / Massachusetts

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Employers Whose Employees Work in California Are Subject to State Overtime Laws

July 06, 2011 - by: HR Hero Alerts 0 COMMENTS

By Chris McFadden

CaliforniaEmployers that require workers to travel to and work within California may be subject to the state’s overtime laws even though their employees are nonresidents. The California Supreme Court decided last week that the California Labor Code applies to the overtime claims of three nonresident instructors who performed work within the state. The employees, who worked for Oracle, worked mainly in their home states (Arizona and Colorado) but were required to travel to California as part of their positions. The instructors alleged that Oracle’s failure to pay overtime for work performed in California was a violation of the state’s Labor Code as well as an unlawful business act under the state’s unfair competition law.

The court determined that California’s overtime law applies to all work performed in the state in excess of eight hours in one workday and 40 hours in one workweek regardless of the employee’s place of residence. The court noted that the state’s overtime laws were designed to serve important public-policy goals such as protecting the health and safety of employees from “the evils associated with overwork” and providing an incentive to spread employment to a greater number of individuals. These policies would not be served by excluding nonresidents from the state’s overtime laws. In addition, any extra burden on employers as a result of complying with California’s overtime laws would be incidental. The court held that the state’s overtime laws don’t apply to work performed outside California.

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Supreme Court Rules Oral FLSA Complaints Are OK

March 22, 2011 - by: HR Hero 0 COMMENTS

Today, in a 6-2 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court held that the Fair Labor Standards Act’s (FLSA) antiretaliation provision protects not just written complaints but also oral ones. The Court noted in its opinion that it heard the case because of a conflict in the circuit courts over whether oral complaints were protected.

In Kasten v. Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics Corp., Kevin Kasten sued under the FLSA, asserting that he was fired in retaliation for verbally complaining about his employer’s time-clock placement. The FLSA prohibits employers from retaliating against employees who have “filed any complaint” under the statute. The Seventh U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled for the employer, holding that FLSA complaints must be made in writing because of the “filed” language (i.e., an oral complaint cannot be “filed”).

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Preliminary FLSA Record-Keeping Regulations Expected in April

January 11, 2011 - by: Holly Jones 0 COMMENTS

An agency Web chat hosted by the U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) Wage and Hour Division (WHD) on Thursday, January 6, provided expected dates for proposed regulations on record-keeping under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). A Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on the “Right to Know Under the Fair Labor Standards Act” initiative is expected in April 2011.

The proposed rule, which will further the department’s Plan/Prevent/Protect and Openness and Transparency goals, will be drafted to provide workers with essential information about their employment status and earnings, including notification of status as an employee or independent contractor as well as notification of whether the employee is exempt or nonexempt. The rules also may require employers to provide a wage statement containing this or other information to employees each pay period.

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