In July, we wrote about the Department of Labor’s proposed changes to the regulations governing the white collar exemptions of the Fair Labor Standards Act. The current regulations governing these exemptions—executive, administrative, and professional—include a salary basis test by which to determine if an employee meets one of these exemptions. The salary basis test currently

The Illinois Minimum Wage Law (IMWL) generally provides that non-exempt employees must be paid one-and-one-half times their regular rate of pay for all hours worked over 40 in a workweek. However, on July 10, 2015, Governor Rauner signed legislation amending the IMWL as it pertains to public employees who are members of a bargaining unit

In the run-up to the holidays, Congress rushed a Continuing Resolution (CR) to President Obama’s desk entitled the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act, 2015. The omnibus spending bill, nicknamed “CRomnibus,” avoided another government shutdown and funded most federal agencies (save for the Department of Homeland Security) through the federal government’s 2015

University signLast Wednesday, my partner Ed Druck and I hosted a webinar on wage and hour law for colleges and universities. (For those who missed it, you can check out the recording.) We had a great turnout and a wonderfully responsive audience. We were thrilled to receive nearly 50 questions, but could only get to a handful of them during the webinar. Over the next several weeks, we will try to answer a number of them here on the blog. If we don’t get to yours, please feel free to contact me or Ed

For those of you outside the realm of higher education, worry not: this will be worthwhile reading for you too, as the issues raised by our webinar audience apply to a wide range of employers. 

To kick off the Q&A, let’s start with a question we got from several of you about on-call time:

Q. Our Resident Advisors are treated as employees and paid through the payroll. During certain hours they are required to be accessible by phone, but not necessarily in their rooms. From midnight to 8:00 a.m., they are required to be in the dorm and available to maintain order or respond to calls from students. However, most of this time is spent on personal activities or sleeping. Do we have to pay for this time? If so, can we pay a lower “on call” rate of say $1 per hour?


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airplane15895164.jpgIn this economy, we continue to see lay-offs and slow growth in hiring.  As a result, more employees are being asked to take on additional responsibilities and assignments.  These circumstances, coupled with the fact that some employers are properly re-classifying certain jobs as non-exempt, have led to an increase in work-related travel for non-exempt employees. 

Angry man with cellphoneQ. Our company provides remote access to e-mail for all employees, and some of our hourly employees carry iPhones and Blackberries with access to their work e-mail. Most non-exempt employees only work during regular business hours, but some will occasionally check and respond to e-mail after hours or on weekends. Do we need to pay employees for this time? If so, how do we track it?

A. Yes, employees need to be paid for time spent reading or responding to work-related e-mail. If this occurs only sporadically and the time involved is truly de minimus – for example, if the employee occasionally types out “Thanks” or “OK” in response to a short message – it may not be an issue. However, if you do not have any mechanism for employees to track and report this time, you may have no way to prove that the time spent was in fact minimal. When a disgruntled current or former employee files a complaint asserting that they worked an hour or two extra every week for three years, will you be able to prove otherwise?


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On May 9, 2011, the U.S. Department of Labor proudly announced its new time-tracking app for the iPhone, which Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis touted as an “invaluable” tool for the Wage & Hour Division in cases where employers failed to keep accurate records. The announcement certainly got the attention of blogging labor and employment law bloggers – see below for a few of the many posts on this. 

Ironically, the app that’s designed to allow hourly employees to keep track of their hours and pay doesn’t accurately calculate either in accordance with the Department of Labor’s regulations. 


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