Like it or not, winter is upon us as the calendar rolls into February, and Jack Frost is constantly lurking around the corner. In this space, we’ve talked about pay issues under the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) when employees can’t make it to work or the business must close. On the flip side, however, some businesses, such as healthcare entities, provide critical services and often have no choice but to remain open to the best of their ability when winter strikes.
On October 30, 2017, the Department of Labor filed a new notice of appeal in the suit that challenged the Obama administration’s overtime regulations. These regulations, which were intended to become effective on December 1, 2016, more than doubled the minimum salary level required to qualify for a white-collar exemption to $913 per week ($47,476 annually).
On July 26, 2017, the Department of Labor (DOL) published a Request for Information (RFI) soliciting public comment on the Fair Labor Standard Act’s (FLSA) minimum wage and overtime requirements for certain executive, administrative, outside sales, and computer employees. The DOL will likely use the feedback it receives to assist with formulating a proposal to revise the overtime regulations.
As we previously discussed here, in November of 2016, a Texas federal judge granted a nationwide injunction to prevent the Department of Labor (DOL) from increasing the minimum salary threshold for employees exempt from the overtime requirement. The Labor Department appealed the decision, but briefing was stayed to allow the new administration to form a stance on the policy. In its recent briefing, Trump’s Department of Labor indicated that it intends to consider raising this threshold, but that the spike formulated by the Obama administration was too high, and the DOL would not defend or enforce that new threshold.
Like most states, Pennsylvania has a Wage Payment and Collection Law. This law requires employers, on regular pay days designated in advance, to pay wages owed either by lawful money of the United States or by check. The Act defines the term check as a “draft.” While the terms “draft” and “lawful money” are not defined, the common definition of these terms accepted by the courts respectively is an unconditional written order signed by one person directing another to be paid, and officially coined or stamped currency. Obviously, in 1961 when the Act was written, the legislature did not contemplate today’s e-economy or the use of payroll debit cards.
The Fair Labor Standards Act requires that an employee be compensated for all time that he suffers or is permitted to work. The question frequently arises as to when an employee is required to be compensated for times when he is not actually working – i.e., meals/breaks – if there is a restriction placed upon his activities during those times. This question arguably is addressed by the Department of Labor’s regulations which require that the employee be compensated for such periods unless he is completely relieved from all duties.
The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) published the final version of its new overtime regulations Wednesday morning, heralding a significant change to the exemption rules that is likely to disqualify millions of workers from their current exempt status before the end of this year.
How do you pay your employees? Although payroll debit cards can be attractive to employers and employees, employers should proceed with caution when utilizing them. Employers cannot require their employees to receive wages on a payroll card; other alternatives, such as paper checks and direct deposit, must also be offered, and these requirements vary from state to state.
Historically, Pennsylvania has been a strict employment-at-will state. Very few employee attempts to create a cause of action have been found to implicate a public policy of the Commonwealth and, thus, give rise to a private right of suit. Recently, a former employee was permitted to use the Pennsylvania Prohibition of Excessive Overtime in Health Care Act as a vehicle for such a claim.