HR Minute

Showing 13 posts in Fair Labor Standards Act.

Lactation in the Workplace

Many employers are uncertain how to handle requests by female employees for break periods and special locations for expressing breast milk. The law is clearly trending in favor of policies that permit female employees to express breast milk in the workplace.

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Judge Blocks DOL's Overtime Exemption Rules

Posted In Employment Issues, Fair Labor Standards Act, Overtime Pay, U.S. Department of Labor


On November 22, 2016, The United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas issued a nationwide emergency injunction effectively preventing the United States Department of Labor (DOL) from enforcing its hotly contested overtime rule.

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Can Democrats Provide Some Runway for Employers on Overtime Rules?

Posted In Fair Labor Standards Act, Government, U.S. Department of Labor

DOL New Overtime Exemptions

We have all heard the hue and cry from many employers regarding the
impending change to the “white collar” exemptions to the FLSA’s overtime rules. As a reminder, the current minimum salary threshold is $455/week, or $23,660/year. The U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) final regulation imposes a new threshold that nearly doubles the minimum salary to $913/week (or $47,476/year) on December 1, 2016. The rule also includes automatic escalators every three years thereafter. Most would concede that the time had come for some upward adjustment to the minimum salary threshold. However, many employers, particularly non-profits and employers in retail, hospitality, and higher education, have complained that the December 1 salary threshold jump is too drastic and will cause hardships—often with unintended negative consequences for some overtime-eligible employees.

Employers have found a sympathetic ear from an unexpected quarter…House Democrats. In July, a group of four House Democrats, led by Rep. Kurt Schrader (D-Oregon), introduced the Overtime Reform and Enhancement Act (OREA). The OREA legislation proposes an initial salary threshold increase to $692/week (or $35,984/year) on December 1, 2016, with the remainder phased in the increase over a three year period such that the $913/week threshold is effective on December 1, 2019. OREA would also eliminate the automatic escalators, on the novel (for Capital Hill) theory that everyone ought to see how the new overtime rule is actually working in the real world before the DOL simply raises the salary threshold “on autopilot.”

Dozens of organizations have spoken out in support of OREA, including the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), the National Restaurant Association, and the American Hotel & Lodging Association. Rep. Schrader’s office maintains a list of supporting organizations on its website,

It remains to be seen whether OREA can gain any traction in Congress. We are in an election cycle (in case you hadn’t noticed). How many other Democrats will be prepared to face the catcall that they are the enemy of hardworking families, in that they oppose overtime pay? Will reason and common sense prevail over rhetoric? Hey, in 2016…ANYTHING is possible!

In the meantime, the clock is ticking toward December 1. Employers should continue to prepare for the DOL regulation to go into effect as proposed. 

U.S. Department of Labor Issues New Overtime Exemption Rules

The U.S. Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division today announced its long-anticipated regulations changing overtime pay rules and exemptions. The final rules dramatically change implementation of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), and will impact virtually all employers. The new rules are set to take effect on December 1, 2016.

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If Being "Proactive" is a Management Objective, This is a Good Year

At the beginning of the calendar year, many in-house counsel and human resources professionals embark on taking steps to meet their annual management objectives. If history is any guide, many human resources professionals and in-house counsel have as one of their objectives taking “proactive” steps to minimize risk to their organizations. For those who have such objectives, the changes in the legal landscape provide fertile opportunities under (1) wage and hour laws; (2) background screening; and (3) policies and procedures, including related to equal employment laws.

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Employers Beware: Overtime Rules are Set to Significantly Increase Number of Protected Employees

Posted In Fair Labor Standards Act

It may come as a surprise to many employers that a huge, federally mandated change to compensation requirements is just around the corner. Last year, the United States Department of Labor (DOL) issued a notice of proposed rulemaking, the intent of which is to expand the federally mandated overtime protections to millions of new employees. As a consequence, many employers who previously had no cause for concern with respect to overtime compliance, will now find themselves under the ambit of the rules.

With the 60-day notice and comment period well behind us, all that remains is for the DOL to issue the final rule and set a date for compliance (which will likely fall toward the end of 2016 or early 2017). Those who have reviewed the comments to the proposed rule are suggesting that, despite a fair amount of pushback by employers, the final version will be largely be consistent with what we have already seen. What does that mean for employers?

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Georgia Supreme Court Ruling May Spawn Back Pay Claims by Thousands of Home Care Workers

Posted In Fair Labor Standards Act

On November 23, 2015, the Supreme Court of Georgia held that countless home care workers are not exempt from the state’s minimum wage laws. The high court ruled unanimously that workers employed by businesses and other third parties to perform in-home personal care services for the elderly, infirm, or medically homebound are protected under Georgia’s minimum wage law.

The dispute centered on whether home care workers should be paid for the time they spend commuting between homes where they provide services. Plaintiff-employees argued that by not being paid for commute time they are not paid for all hours worked and their pay averages less than minimum wage. Defendants, Georgia-based Southern Home Care Services, Inc. and its Kentucky-based parent company, Res-Care, Inc., countered that home care workers are exempt from both federal and state minimum wage laws and must only be paid for the time spent in homes providing care. 

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DOL Pumps the Brakes on Proposed Changes to Overtime Rules

Posted In Fair Labor Standards Act

One of the hot-button issues that worries today’s employer is the impending changes to the Fair Labor Standards Act’s (FLSA) overtime rules. Within the proposed changes, the questions I hear most concern the proposed increase in the minimum weekly salary necessary for employees to be classified as exempt from the FLSA’s overtime provisions. The current threshold is $455/week, or $23,660/year. Earlier this year, the United States Department of Labor (DOL) proposed a new threshold that would nearly double the minimum salary to $970/week (or $50,440/year). Such a change would dramatically increase the number of employees eligible for overtime compensation. As such, employers have been holding their collective breath trying to divine when the DOL might make any such change effective.

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The U.S. Department of Labor Increases FLSA Pressure

Posted In Fair Labor Standards Act

On July 15, 2015, the Administrator of the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (DOL) issued guidance regarding the proper classification of workers as independent contractors. The DOL claims that they are issuing the guidance because they are concerned that too many companies are misclassifying employees to escape overtime requirements, worker’s compensation and payroll taxes. The guidance is a reminder to employers that the DOL interprets the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) broadly and that the DOL will take the position that the test for determining who is an independent contractor reflects that broad scope.

The guidance itself is detailed and heavily reliant on case-law that supports the DOL’s interpretation but also avoids contrary authority. The DOL opines that, based on the FLSA definition of “employ” as “suffer or permit to work,” and the manner in which federal courts have applied the “economics realities test,” that “most workers are employees under the FLSA’s broad definitions.” This conclusion follows that of at least one state, Vermont, whose Department of Labor has concluded that 99 percent of all workers working for Vermont employers should be classified as employees and not independent contractors.

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10 Common Mistakes Under the Fair Labor Standard Act

Posted In Fair Labor Standards Act

10 Common Mistakes Under the Fair Labor Standard Act Mistake one: improperly classifying employees as exempt. Some employers wrongfully believe that they can pay an employee a salary and avoid overtime. The FLSA has specific requirements based on the salary and the duties performed to determine if an employee qualifies as exempt. Under the salary requirement, exempt employees must earn at least $455 per week. Under the duties test, the employee must perform certain types of executive, administrative, or professional duties to qualify for an exemption.

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