The California Supreme Court has adopted a new three-part test to determine whether a worker is an independent contractor or an employee under California’s wage orders, which regulate wages, hours, and working conditions. The highly anticipated ruling could have wide ranging effects for businesses operating in California and beyond, as companies try to navigate the new gig economy.
The California Supreme Court issued a decision Monday in a case that is sure to cause headaches for employers when compensating employees through flat sum bonuses. In Alvarado v. Dart Container Corporation of California (S232607) the Court held that for purposes of calculating the regular rate, a flat sum bonus is to be allocated only to the nonovertime hours worked. This holding departs from the calculation methods broadly considered compliant outside of California under the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) and regulations issued by the U.S. Department of Labor.
The Sixth Circuit recently affirmed a district court’s summary judgment decision finding that an employer, Plastipak Holdings, Inc., Plastipak Packaging, Inc., Plastipak Technologies, LLC, Plastipak, and William C. Young (collectively, “Plastipak”) properly had paid employees using the “fluctuating workweek” method and dismissing plaintiffs’ claims for underpayment of wages under the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”).
It is very common for employers to pay employees by direct deposit, and an increasing number pay employees with payroll debit cards. Beginning March 7, 2017, employers in New York will have to deal with a new regulation regarding the use of direct deposit and payroll debit cards for payment of wages. The new regulation, issued by the New York Department of Labor and titled “Methods of Payment of Wages,” imposes heightened notice and consent requirements on employers offering either service.
This past week the FTC and DOJ issued an 11-page guidance document aimed at protecting employees against anticompetitive conduct with respect to naked wage-fixing and agreements, in which companies agree on salary or other terms of compensation, and anti-poaching agreements. The guidance to human resource (“HR”) professionals and hiring managers relates to both hiring and compensation decisions.
The government’s guidance makes clear that naked wage-fixing agreements and anti-poaching agreements, in which companies agree not to recruit each other’s employees, are illegal under U.S. antitrust laws and, moving forward, DOJ will criminally investigate both individuals and companies suspected of their violation. There is a carve-out for legitimate collaboration between employers. The most common form of relevant, legitimate collaboration would be a joint venture between two companies, as these are not considered per se illegal under the antitrust laws.
Continue Reading FTC, DOJ Issue Guidance for HR Professionals on the Application of Antitrust Law to Hiring and Compensation
Recently, Washington DC council members unanimously voted to increase the city’s minimum wage to $15.00 an hour by the year 2020 for non-tipped hourly workers, many of whom work in the retail industry. The news comes just before Washington DC is scheduled to increase its minimum wage rate from $10.50 an hour to $11.50 an hour on July 1, 2016. The move makes DC the third jurisdiction behind California and New York to increase minimum wages to $15.00 an hour.
* We are hosting a webinar on the final rule on May 26, 2016. Click here to register.
Today, the U.S. Department of Labor published its final rule increasing the salary requirement for the Fair Labor Standards Act’s white-collar exemptions to $47,476 per year ($913 per week). Though the new salary level is not as high as the $50,440 per year level predicted by the DOL in its July 2015 proposed rule, the final rule nonetheless more than doubles the current salary requirement of $23,660 per year ($455 per week). The reason the salary requirement is somewhat lower than initially predicted is that the final rule applies the proposed 40% threshold to the average full-time salary compensation paid in the lowest-wage Census region, as opposed to applying the 40% threshold to the national salary average.
Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), employers who use a tip credit to satisfy their minimum wage obligations for tipped employees must follow certain rules related to those tips. One of those rules relates to the use of tip pools – i.e., pooling of tips received by multiple tipped employees and then dividing the total among the pool participants based on a specified formula. Under Section 3(m) of the FLSA, employers who rely on the tip credit and who require their tipped employees to contribute their tips to a tip-pooling arrangement must ensure that the only employees who participate in the pool are those that “customarily and regularly” receive tips. This typically means that managers, hostesses, cooks, dishwashers, and other non-tipped employees cannot participate in the tip pool if the employer wants to rely on the FLSA’s tip credit.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission announced on January 29, 2016 its proposed revision to the Employer Information Report (EEO-1) that would obligate businesses with 100 or more employees to annually turn over pay data by gender, race and ethnicity. Although employers will not have to divulge specific pay rate information for individual employees, they would have to report pay bands across 10 different job categories.
As we previously reported, the Department of Labor (“DOL”) issued a proposed rule expected to significantly increase the number of employees who are eligible for overtime. Most notably, the proposed rule seeks to increase the minimum salary threshold for exempt workers from the current level of $23,660 to $50,440.
In a December 16, 2015 interview with Bloomberg BNA, Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez stated he was “confident” that the final rule would be “out by the spring of next year.” This prediction falls ahead of other recent DOL estimations. In its latest regulatory agenda, released in November, the DOL’s Wage and Hour Division estimated that the final rule would be published in July of 2016. And while speaking on a recent panel at the American Bar Association’s Labor and Employment Law conference in Philadelphia, Solicitor of Labor M. Patricia Smith predicted that the new rule was not likely to appear before “late 2016.”