Employers likely recall the ill-fated federal overtime rule that was proposed during the Obama administration and was struck down last year. Even though the changes to the Fair Labor Standards Act’s overtime salary threshold never came to fruition at the federal level, Pennsylvania employers should be prepared for possible changes at the state level.
Recently, the Wage and Hour Division (“WHD”) of the federal Department of Labor announced a new pilot program called the Payroll Audit Independent Determination (“PAID”) program. The program is intended to facilitate quick resolution of potential overtime and minimum wage violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act. The WHD hopes that the program will be used by employers to resolve claims without litigation and that the program will improve employer compliance with the FLSA. The WHD intends to implement this pilot program for a period of six months. After six months, the WHD will evaluate the effectiveness of the program and determine whether any modifications may be necessary.
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.