In a long-awaited decision, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court has concluded that the fluctuating workweek (FWW) pay method is not a proper method of overtime pay calculation under the Pennsylvania Minimum Wage Act (PMWA). Chevalier v. General Nutrition Centers, Inc., 2019 Pa. LEXIS 6521 (Nov. 20, 2019). As a result, the Court affirmed the decisions of the trial court and intermediate appellate court that a class of former non-exempt, store-level managers for General Nutrition Centers were not sufficiently paid for all of the overtime hours that they worked.
Articles Discussing Pennsylvania Wage & Hour Laws.
In June 2018 the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry (DLI) issued a proposed rule to substantially increase the salary threshold to qualify as an exempt Executive, Administrative and Professional (EAP) employee under the Pennsylvania Minimum Wage Act (PMWA), and invited public comment. On October 17, 2019, DLI submitted its final regulation to the state’s Independent Regulatory Review Commission (IRRC) and legislative oversight committees. IRRC will hold a public meeting on November 21, 2019 to decide whether to approve the final regulation. If it is approved, the final regulation would increase the EAP salary threshold under Pennsylvania law to:
In June, we reported that the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry (DLI) submitted to the Pennsylvania Independent Regulatory Review Commission (IRRC) a proposed rulemaking package that seeks to update the Executive, Administrative and Professional (EAP) exemptions to the Pennsylvania Minimum Wage Act’s (PMWA) overtime requirements. Among other things, the proposed changes would significantly increase the salary threshold required to meet the exemptions, automatically increase the salary threshold every three years, and change certain elements of the duties tests. As part of the rulemaking process, DLI requested comments on its proposed rulemaking from the public, members of the legislature, and IRRC.
Employers in Pennsylvania will be able to pay employee wages using payroll debit cards under an amendment to the banking code signed by Governor Tom Wolf on November 4, 2016. The new legislation goes into effect 180 days following the signing, on May 4, 2017.
On November 4, 2016, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf signed into law a bill that brings the Commonwealth’s law regarding payroll debit cards into the 21st century. The new legislation amends Pennsylvania’s Banking Code, and makes explicit that the use of payroll debit cards is permissible under the law of Pennsylvania, provided the employer and the bank issuing the payroll debit card comply with certain prerequisites.
In a pair of recent decisions, the United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania held that the “fluctuating workweek” method of calculating overtime is not lawful under Pennsylvania law when the employer pays an overtime premium of one-half of the employee’s regular hourly rate, in addition to the employee’s salary. Foster v. Kraft Foods Global, Inc., 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 121282 (W.D. Pa. Aug. 27, 2012); Cerutti v. Frito Lay, Inc., 777 F. Supp. 2d 920 (W.D. Pa. 2011). While these cases do not necessarily represent the last word on the subject (indeed, the Foster case is still pending in district court), employers who utilize the fluctuating workweek method in Pennsylvania should take note of these developments.