For regular readers of this blog, you know that my colleague, Tracey Truesdale, gave you some tips for properly paying employees in the event of a pandemic. That was on February 26, 2020. Since then, we’ve heard of employers sending entire offices of employees home to telecommute, restricting travel, and cancelling social events in reaction
Wage and Hour FAQs
Coronavirus: How to Properly Pay Employees in the Event of a Pandemic
The anticipated spread of coronavirus in the U.S. has many employers revisiting their emergency response plans. Depending on guidance from public health officials, some employees may be directed to work from home, temporarily furloughed, or work a reduced schedule. Some managers and executives may be pressed into service to perform more manual or routine tasks.
To paraphrase a favorite sign in my office, this is not the Department of Labor’s first rodeo, and there is existing guidance under the Fair Labor Standards Act’s (FLSA) implementing regulations on how employees must be compensated in these situations. Let’s look at some of the wage/hour issues presented when a business must alter its operations due to a public health emergency.…
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What Duties Can A Server Perform Under the Tip Credit Rules? [Wage & Hour FAQ]
Q. We use the tip credit for servers who work in our restaurant. When service is slow, we ask our servers to pitch in with other jobs around the restaurant, like sweeping up the dining room and cleaning the restroom. Can we still take the tip credit for time that our servers spend working on…
Can Exempt Employees Earn Overtime Pay? [Wage & Hour FAQ]
Q. Our company’s busy season is coming up, meaning we will be asking employees to work longer hours. Our non-exempt employees will all receive overtime pay when they work more than 40 hours in a week. Some of them will actually end up earning more per week than some exempt employees. We would like to…
Does Paying Time and a Half For Certain Work Count Toward Overtime? [Wage & Hour FAQ]
Q. Our organization has a policy of paying employees who perform certain kinds of work outside of regular business hours at 1-1/2 times their regular hourly rates. Do we have to pay additional overtime pay for these hours?
A. Maybe. The Fair Labor Standards Act requires employers to pay overtime at 1-1/2 times an employee’s…
Do I have to pay employees to run a 5K? [Wage & Hour FAQ]
What is the Cost of a Free Lunch? [Wage & Hour FAQ]
Q. We offer free lunches to our food service employees. Can we count the cost of these lunches as part of our employees’ compensation?
A. The short answer is yes, but as we all know, there’s no such thing as a free lunch, particularly in the world of wage and hour law. To explore the right way to do this, it’s helpful to take a look at some common mistakes that employers make.
Suppose Jerry works at Bob’s Steak ‘N Beans as a line cook. Bob’s is located in Illinois, so the minimum wage for non-tipped employees is $8.25 per hour. Suppose Jerry works 45 hours over 5 work days in a week. For that week, he would be entitled to straight-time wages of $371.25. However, rather than paying that full amount in cash, Bob provides Jerry with a free Steak ‘N Beans Bonanza platter each day for lunch. The menu cost of the platter is $15, so Bob deducts $15 per day from Jerry’s pay, leaving him with $296.25 in straight-time pay. On Thursday, Jerry brought a salad from home, but Bob still charged him for the platter since it was available to Jerry even if he didn’t eat it. (Bob ended up serving it to a customer.) Bob didn’t just fall of the turnip truck, so he knows that he also has to pay Jerry overtime for 5 hours. So Bob takes Jerry’s total straight-time wages ($296.25), divides by 45, and divides by two to get an overtime premium rate of $3.29 per hour. Multiplied by five hours, he gets $16.46. Adding that amount to Jerry’s straight-time pay, Bob comes up with a total of $312.71.
Can anyone spot the problems here?…
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Can Employers Offer Compensatory Time to Exempt Employees? [Wage & Hour FAQ]
Recently, two blog readers asked a question about the use of compensatory (comp) time in the private sector during a discussion about tracking exempt employees’ hours worked. One reader’s company tracked exempt employees’ hours worked, and permitted the employees to “flex” any hours worked in excess of a normal workweek, either later that week or in future weeks on an hour-for-hour basis, subject to work loads and scheduling requirements. Another reader wondered if banking “flex” time would be an illegal use of comp time by a private employer. Let’s debunk that myth: Can you offer comp time, flex time, or some other additional compensated time off to your exempt employees? Yes! This is legal and permitted by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) regulations.…
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Answering Your Questions about the New FLSA Regulations [Wage & Hour FAQ]
As you undoubtedly know by now, the Department of Labor’s Wage & Hour Division (WHD) finally announced its long-promised proposal to amend the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) Regulations and, in particular, those governing the “white collar” exemption for executive, administrative, and professional employees. For our comprehensive discussion of the changes in the DOL’s Notice …