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Posts in Fair Labor Standards Act.

To be exempt from the minimum wage and overtime requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), an employee must perform certain duties and be paid on a “salary basis,” meaning that the employee receives a set salary each week, regardless of the number of days or hours worked, with limited exceptions. Under the FLSA, an employer may deduct from the pay of an exempt employee only under the following circumstances:

  • No work: When an exempt employee performs no work for an entire workweek, the employer is not required to pay the employee’s salary for that week.

The partial federal government shutdown appears likely to continue into a second week, with no agreement on funding for the Department of Homeland Security, State Department, Justice Department and Interior Department, among other federal departments and agencies. For a second time this year, government contractors face the challenge of complying with a complex set of federal and state employment laws, while their federal contract work and workers remain idle. This article briefly identifies some of the issues affecting government contractors during the shutdown and provides guidance on how to navigate the issues.

Editor's note: A federal district court has granted a preliminary injunction blocking the overtime rule from taking effect December 1, 2016.

The U.S. Department of Labor will today unveil new regulations effectuating significant changes to the payment of employee overtime under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The new rule will raise the salary exemption threshold for overtime pay under the FLSA from its current rate of $23, 660 a year to  $47,476 annually. Also raised under the new rule will be the total annual compensation level above which highly compensated white collar workers will be ineligible for overtime from the current $100,000 to $134,004 a year. The adjustments in the salary exemption thresholds will be the first since 2004 and only the third in the last four decades. The DOL estimates that the new rule will result in overtime eligibility for an additional 4.2 million additional workers nationwide.

The overtime salary exemption thresholds will be subject to automatic adjustment every three years, beginning on January 1, 2020, to raise the threshold to match the 40th percentile of full-time salaried workers in the lowest-wage Census Region. The new rule is set to go into effect on December 1, 2016.

You can view the the DOL's overview and summary of the final rule here.

The Department of Labor (DOL) has just released its long-awaited Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to the white collar exemption under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The amendments, if passed, will significantly increase the minimum salary test (from $23,660 to $50,440) for hours worked over 40 in a work week. The amendments will have far-reaching impacts on many industries that will need to reclassify many currently exempt employees and corresponding wage and hour policies.

In response to a directive from President Obama, the Department of Labor (DOL) has been working since Spring 2014 to revise the white collar exemption under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The revisions are expected to significantly increase the minimum salary test and the primary duties test.

What does the FLSA provide for and what is the white collar exemption?

The FLSA is a federal statute that establishes minimum wage, overtime pay, recordkeeping and child labor standards. The statute requires that most employees be paid, at least, the federal minimum wage and overtime pay at one and one-half the regular rate of pay for all hours worked over 40.

PunchingTimeClock.jpgThe Case

On March 7, 2014, Judge Raymond Jackson of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia denied Dollar Tree’s motion for de-certification of a Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) class action case involving between 4,000 and 6,000 current and former employees. The lawsuit alleges that Dollar Tree required or permitted its hourly associates and assistant store managers to work "off the clock" and overtime without compensation. The suit covers employees in Dollar Tree stores located in 48 states and the District of Columbia. Dollar Tree’s headquarters is located in Norfolk, Virginia.

Liability PhotoThe Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) establishes requirements regarding the compensation of employees working in the private sector and in federal, state and local government positions. To protect employees, the FLSA prohibits retaliation by employers against employees who complain that their rights have been violated. 

In the past, the FLSA anti-retaliation provision has applied to cases where an employee was fired or discriminated against after filing a formal complaint with a governmental agency, resulting in the commencement of formal proceedings against the employer.  Recently, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit found that the anti-retaliation protections could also apply to informal “intra-company” complaints made by an employee. 

The Fair Labor Standards Act requires employers to pay overtime to employees who work more than forty hours in a given week.  The Act provides several exceptions or “exemptions” to the forty hour rule.  If an employee falls under one of these exemptions, they are not entitled to overtime compensation.

businessman checking inventory

One exemption that is commonly used by employers and which has become the subject of recent debate is the “executive exemption”.  An employee falls under the executive exemption and is not entitled to overtime when he or she is an employee employed in a bona fide executive capacity. 

Under the FLSA and its associated regulations, an employee qualifies under the executive exemption when the following criteria are met:

  • The employee is compensated on a salary basis at a rate not less than $455 per week
  • The employee’s primary duty is management of the enterprise, department or subdivision
  • The employee customarily and regularly directs the work of two or more employees
  • The employee has the authority to hire or fire other employees or their suggestions as to hiring, firing, advancement or promotion or any other change in status are given particular weight 

On February 24, Mama's Pizzeria and Restaurant of Copiague, New York entered into a settlement with the Department of Labor.  In the settlement, Mama's agreed to pay $780,000 in minimum wage and overtime compensation to 40 employees. Pizza.jpg 

Mama's was charged with paying employees wages less than the minimum wage and requiring employees to work more than 40 hours per week without paying overtime.  Mama's also failed to keep accurate records of wages paid and hours worked by employees.

This case serves as a warning and opportunity for employers to review who is entitled to overtime and what records must be maintained by a business.

Virginia businesses follow the Fair Labor Standards Act ("FLSA") with regards to overtime and minimum wage standards.  The FLSA specifies that employees required to work more than 40 hours in a week are entitled to overtime at a rate no less than 1.5 times the normal hourly rate. Additionally, certain employees are exempt and not entitled to overtime.