On April 8, 2014, the President signed an Executive Order prohibiting federal contractors from retaliating against employees who choose to discuss their compensation. The President also issued a Memorandum instructing the Secretary of Labor to establish new regulations requiring federal contractors to submit to the Department of Labor (DOL) summary data on compensation paid to their employees, including data by sex and race. These executive actions were issued on Equal Pay Day, and implement the less drastic provisions of the Paycheck Fairness Act for federal contractors, which failed to advance in the Senate.
Articles Discussing General Topics Under The FLSA.
Recently, we told you about President Obama’s Executive Order increasing the minimum wage for employees of federal contractors to $10.10 per hour. Tomorrow, President Obama is expected to announce that he will sign two new executive orders that will apply to federal contractors: (1) one order will forbid retaliation by federal contractors against employees that discuss their compensation with other employees; and (2) the other order will require federal contractors to maintain certain records on compensation organized by race and gender, and report that data to the federal government. These Orders are being issued to further advance the Administration’s cause of equal pay for women.
Recently on Twitter, I commented that revising the FLSA regulations won’t be quick or easy. Speaking of Twitter, if you’re not following @WageHourInsight yet, why not? I find lots of interesting tidbits every day that don’t make it here to the blog, and you can follow along with some of the more free-wheeling conversations HR professionals have on the very same topics we discuss here.
Executive Summary: Many employers are using or considering using payroll cards to pay employees. A number of states have wage payment laws restricting employers’ use of such cards. On September 12, 2013, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) issued a bulletin stating that under federal law employers cannot mandate that their employees receive wages on a payroll card. Employees who choose to receive wages on a payroll card are entitled to certain federal protections.
Soon after returning from its summer recess, the House of Representatives approved a bill that seeks to transfer administrative authority over federal contractor wage claims adjustments from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to the Department of Labor (DOL). The DOL is the agency charged with implementing the Davis-Bacon Act, which requires that federally-contracted workers be paid the “local prevailing wage” on government projects, and the Contract Work Hours and Safety Standards Act (CWHSSA), which mandates that federal contractors pay their employees overtime for hours worked in excess of 40 per week. The GAO is responsible for processing claims of workers who did not receive the appropriate wage. The goal of the bipartisan Streamlining Claims Processing for Federal Contracted Employees Act (H.R. 2747), introduced by Reps. Tim Walberg (R-MI) and Joe Courtney (D-CT), is to improve government operational efficiency by placing both the implementation and enforcement of the federal contractor wage laws with one agency.
Iowa is the latest State to sign a Memorandum of Understanding and join forces with the U.S. Department of Labor to combat employee misclassification. Although Labor Secretary Solis has announced her resignation, it appears that the Misclassification Initiative that she championed continues, at least for now.
Q. We would like to require employees to accept pay via direct deposit. Is this permitted?
I read this morning that there have been 7,064 lawsuits filed under the Fair Labor Standards Act so far this year. I believe this is a record for wage and hour violation claims and the year is only half over. This is also nearly sixty more FLSA lawsuits than was filed in all of 2011 and more than double the amount of cases filed ten or twelve years ago. The Department of Labor’s wage and hour division alone has collected a record $224 million from employers over the last fiscal year, and is continuing its campaign against misclassification of employees, including its cooperation with other federal and state agencies in going after employers who misclassify workers. In other words, this issue is not going away for employers.
On June 4, the U.S. Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division announced that a San Antonio-based car wash company has paid $246,438 in back wages to 308 employees following a DOL investigation. Among other things, the DOL found that the company had taken illegal deductions from employees paychecks for items including uniforms, insurance claims, and cash register shortages that resulted in employees’ pay falling below the federal minimum wage.
You’re a savvy employer. Your timekeeping policies are clear. Your employees know that they are required to report all of their work time. Employees sign off on their time records each week. You even provide a procedure for employees to confidentially report any improper actions by their supervisors. Your records are complete, organized, and show that you’ve fully compensated your employees for all reported work hours. But what happens when an employee claims that his supervisor instructed him not to report overtime unless it was authorized in advance, and to record unpaid lunches even on days that he worked through his lunch break? As a recent ruling from a federal district court in Idaho illustrates, even following best practices with respect to recordkeeping compliance won’t necessarily preclude an employee from taking a claim for unpaid overtime to a jury.
Check out my article in the October 2011 issue of Cleaning & Maintenance Management. While focused on the cleaning and maintenance industry, the issues highlighted in the article are generally applicable to a wide range employers.
Recently the U.S. Department of Labor revamped its enforcement data website, http://ogesdw.dol.gov/, adding some snazzy new map displays showing inspection and violation data from OSHA and the Mine Safety and Health Administration.