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The U.S. Labor Department (DOL) often sets its sights up the food chain, focusing enforcement efforts on general contractors (GCs) for the wage violations of their subcontractors. In recent years, federal district courts and the DOL have been putting pressure on GCs to insist on and monitor Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) compliance by others with whom they share a business relationship by terming them “joint employers.”

FLSA Exemption Changes: A Possible "Plan B" For Retailers

Expectations are that the U.S. Labor Department's proposed regulations re-defining the federal Fair Labor Standards Act's executive, administrative, professional, outside-sales, and derivative exemptions will be released in the next few weeks, if not within days. As we have said, these provisions will probably include (i) a substantial increase in the minimum salary amount, and (ii) a significant narrowing of the duties-related requirements.

Wage and Hour Basics Series: The FLSA Overtime Exemptions

Last month, we debuted our series on wage and hour basics with a review of the white collar exemptions. As the Department of Labor gets ready to issue revised FLSA regulations, we will continue take a look at some of the more fundamental concepts of the FLSA. As always, remember that these are just the basics: the application of these rules to specific facts is where the rubber really meets the road for employers.

To pay or not to pay? Court holds employer is not obligated to pay for attendance at mandatory treatment program

Although most employers are aware that an employee’s time spent working is generally compensable, the question of what actually constitutes compensable “working time” under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) is an area fraught with uncertainty and the subject of substantial litigation. Indeed, in December 2014, in the case of Integrity Staffing Solutions, Inc. v. Busk, the U.S. Supreme Court concluded that employees’ time spent waiting to undergo and undergoing security screenings was not compensable working time. If the amount of litigation surrounding this issue is any indication, determining whether employee activity connected to employment is compensable is an area where mistakes are easily and commonly made by employers.

Employee's Failure to Report Off the Clock Work Not a Total Defense Says 11th Circuit

Last summer, we highlighted an example of how good recordkeeping practices can result in a favorable decision. In the Kaiser Foundation Health Plan case, the employer successfully defended an “unauthorized overtime” claim where an employee worked off the clock against Kaiser’s policies and without its knowledge. A recent Eleventh Circuit decision demonstrates the limits of relying solely on policies as a defense in these types of cases.

The Story of the Missing Dollar: (Mis)Applications of the Pay Period Leap Year

When I was a kid, my grandpa (a trained biochemist) used to teach me how to burn things and blow things up with my little home chemistry set. But that’s a story for another time. He also used to tell me a story that I never could quite figure out when I was young.

The Federal Minimum Wage for Tipped Employees—Is a Raise in Store?

President Obama has made increasing the federal minimum wage a priority for the administration due in no small part to sustained union efforts over the past few years—including “worker center” protests and campaigns aimed at the hospitality industry, such as “Fight for 15” and “Fast Food Forward” To this end, President Obama issued Executive Order 13658 on February 12, 2014, announcing an increase in the minimum wage rate to $10.10 per hour for workers on federal service and construction contracts. The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) published a final rule implementing that executive order on October 7, 2014.

More Erroneous Nonsense on Tipped Wages, Courtesy of the Labor Dept.

A recent post appearing on the U.S. Department of Labor’s blog begins, “The federal tipped minimum wage has been $2.13/hour since 1991. That’s right – it’s been the same for nearly a quarter century.”

Predictable Scheduling: The Next FLSA Frontier?

As if the DOL’s new Fair Labor Standards Act regulations weren’t enough to fill your plate this year, a recent interview (subscription required) that the DOL’s Wage and Hour Division Administrator David Weil gave to BNA’s Daily Labor Report has added to what portends to be a monumental shift in wage and hour law.

The Pay Period Leap Year Redux: Don't Leap If It Isn't Your Year!

At the end of last year, we discussed the Pay Period Leap Year and what it means for employers. If your first weekly paychecks will issue on Thursday, January 1, 2015, you will have a fifty-third pay period on December 31, 2015. If your first bi-weekly paychecks will issue on Thursday, January 1, 2015, you will have a twenty-seventh pay period on December 31, 2015, depending on payday holiday processing rules. This means that for employers who pay employees weekly or bi-weekly, 2015 could be a Pay Period Leap Year, but it doesn’t mean that all of your employees will have one. We discussed three options for handling Pay Period Leap Years if you pay employees on a weekly or bi-weekly basis, each of which we discussed in detail in our December post: