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Total Articles: 10

2019 Minimum Wage Rate Increases: The List Grows

While the federal minimum wage has remained stalled at $7.25 an hour since 2009, there has been significant movement at the state level, with some states enacting a minimum wage rate that is now more than double the federal level.

WPI Wage Watch: Minimum Wage, Tip, & Overtime Developments (November Edition)

The dishes are done, the leftovers are gone, and you are back at work. Were new laws enacted while you were conked out in a tryptophan-induced nap? Keep reading for all the November updates about the minimum wage, tips, and overtime.

WPI State of the States – What did the Voters Decide?

The November mid-term elections resulted in some significant power shifts at the state level. Six states (Colorado, Illinois, Maine, Nevada, New Mexico, and New York) that had been politically divided now enjoy a Democratic "trifecta" – meaning the state house, senate, and governor are all affiliated with the same party.1 Alaska, meanwhile, whose current governor is an Independent, will have a Republican governor in 2019, making that state solidly red. Four states (Kansas, Michigan, New Hampshire, and Wisconsin) in which the Republican Party had enjoyed a legislative trifecta, are now politically divided.

You May Not Have to Pay Attorney’s Fees in Some FLSA Cases

If you have ever had to defend against a lawsuit under the FLSA, you probably know that attorney’s fees awards often far exceed the value of your employee’s claims. This is especially true in collective action cases, which often involve extensive litigation resulting in a higher fee award. Unlike the general presumption in the United States that each party to a lawsuit pays its own attorney’s fees, the FLSA provides for a mandatory award of attorney’s fees to an employee who prevails on his or her claim. This mandatory fee-shifting provision sometimes results in employers deciding to settle a case early in the litigation to avoid increased fees in the event of a judgment in favor of the employee.

Labor Department Abandons ‘80/20’ Tip Credit Rule, to Relief of Restaurant, Hospitality Industries

The Wage and Hour Division (WHD) of the Department of Labor (DOL) has reissued a 2009 opinion letter, effectively withdrawing enforcement guidance that made the tip credit under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) unavailable for tipped employees who spend more than 20% of their time performing allegedly non-tip-generating duties.

Share Exempt Employees: What Is the Reasonable Relationship Test and When Does it Exist Between Weekly Salary and Usual Earnings?

In Opinion Letter FLSA 2018-25, issued on November 8, 2018, Bryan L. Jarrett, the acting administrator of the U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) Wage and Hour Division (WHD), addresses the requirement in 29 C.F.R. Section 541.604(b) that a “reasonable relationship” exist between an exempt employee’s guaranteed amount paid on a salary basis and the amount actually earned by the employee. The reasonable relationship requirement exists so that an employer may compute an exempt employee’s earnings on an hourly, daily, or shift basis without the employee losing his or her exempt status or the employer violating the salary basis requirement.

Minimum Wage, Tipped and Exempt Employee Pay in 2019: A Rates-Only Update

Minimum wage laws can impact businesses of all sizes, whether operating nationwide, in multiple jurisdictions, or only in one state, county, or city. To help manage this challenge, we are publishing a rates-only update detailing state- and local-level wage increases that are scheduled to occur throughout 2019 so employers can determine the minimum amount they must pay non-exempt, tipped, and certain exempt employees.

Combatting the Shortage of Home Care Workers: Going Co-Op?

With the number of U.S. residents aged 65 and older projected to more than double from 46 million today to over 98 million by 2060, home care agencies face a litany of difficulties. Among these are that home care agency owners themselves are reaching retirement age. In addition, properly classifying home care workers—and even determining which test to use to classify them—is no easy feat. Moreover, the nature of home care work leads to high worker turnover, and since July 2017, a Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) rule has required home health agencies to meet more stringent conditions to participate in Medicare and Medicaid programs. In short, fewer and fewer workers are doing more and more for an ever-increasing caseload of patients.

New DOL Opinion Letter Extinguishes Private Fire Department’s Eligibility for Overtime Exemption

Private contractors that provide fire service protection beware: you may not be able to claim partial exemptions for overtime under section 7(k) of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

U.S. Department of Labor Releases Four New Opinion Letters

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) announced that it has issued four new opinion letters. DOL opinion letters are designed to interpret and provide clarity to federal labor laws, and these four new letters target issues under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).