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Posts tagged "department of labor".

On March 7, 2019, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) issued proposed rules that would update the salary threshold for the Fair Labor Standard Act’s (FLSA) so-called “white collar” or “EAP” exemptions from overtime. The importance of this issue for employers is tied to the fact that an employee must be paid on a salary basis at or above the DOL’s specified minimum weekly salary level in order to be exempt from the FLSA’s overtime pay requirements.  

What Changes

Currently, employees paid a weekly salary below $455 per week ($23,660 per year) are deemed non-exempt and must be paid overtime for all hours worked over 40 per week.

Federal contractors, take notice: did you know that it is now illegal as a federal contractor to prevent your employees from discussing their compensation? The Department of Labor’s recent ruling may significantly impact your business and necessitate changes to your policies and practices. Continue reading to determine whether your business will be affected and how.

Delayed Posting.jpgThe U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has once again delayed publication of its final rule on “persuader activities.” The DOL’s final rule was initially scheduled for publication in November 2013. As that date approached, the DOL rescheduled publication for March 2014. Having now hit that mark, the DOL once more has pushed off publication—this time without setting a future date. The new date is expected to be announced in the DOL’s Spring 2014 Regulatory Agenda.

In June 2011, the DOL published revisions to the persuader rule which broaden the scope of an employer’s reportable union-related activities by substantially limiting the application of the “advice” exemption in Section 203(c) of the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act (LMRDA).

The Wage and Hour Division of the Department of Labor recently released a timesheet application on the Apple iTunes store.  On May 9, 2011, “DOL – Timesheet” became available for download.  The application allows employees to keep track of hours worked and amount of pay owed including overtime.  Through the app, employees are able to maintain an “electronic timecard” where they click to clock-in and out, record breaks, enter comments, receive a summary and even send the summary via email.

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While the application contains many features, it also possesses several significant limitations.  The “app” does not have the capability to take into account items such as tips, commissions, bonuses, deductions, and holiday pay.  Still, in a press release from the Department of Labor, Secretary Hilda L. Solis praised the app stating “this app will help empower workers to understand and stand up for their rights when employers have denied their hard-earned pay.” 

Currently, the app is only available for iPhone and iPod Touch.  The Department of Labor has plans to make versions available for Blackberry and Android users in the future. 

Since its release there has been quite a bit of commentary about its usefulness.  As of today the app has a rating of 3.5 stars out of a possible 5 in Apple’s app store.   Many of the ratings come from two extremes – users either love the app or they despise it.  Comments ranged from “simple and efficient”, “easy interface” to complaints about how the app will lead to increased complaints from employees.

While the app will be helpful for some employees, the results produced will only be as accurate as the data entered.  Employers could face increased complaints over alleged miscalculations in time worked due to an employee’s failure to record time in the app at the same time as they clock-in and out for work. 

Additionally, the release of the app signifies the importance of ensuring that employees are fully aware of employer payroll policies.  Taking a proactive approach in refreshing employees on timekeeping policies and ensuring that recordkeeping is adequate, complete and in compliance with State and Federal law will go a long way towards avoiding future issues and complaints. 

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.  

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In 1997, the Virginia General Assembly passed a law providing savings to employers who establish "Drug-Free" workplace policies.  The discount is currently 5% from the Workers' Compensation insurance policy premium.  For larger companies, this can be quite a significant savings.

Additionally, some organizations and individuals doing business with the government are required to provide a drug-free workplace for employees. This would include organizations with federal government contracts in excess of $100,000, organizations receiving federal grant funding, as well as individual contractors and grant recipients.  Subcontractors and subgrantees do not fall under this requirement.

There are several sources of good information regarding setting up a drug-free workplace policy:

  1. Department of Labor:  the website provides a great deal of information to businesses on how to setup a drug-free workplace policy including the "drug-free workplace policy builder" which guides individuals through a set of questions to help build the policy.
  2. Small Business Administration:  links to information pertaining particularly to small businesses and government contractors.