Latest from Wage & Hour Insights

After a federal judge in the Eastern District of Texas blocked the DOL’s new overtime exemption rule as it pertains to Texas state employees, another judge in the Northern District of Texas declined to issue a similar injunction in a challenge brought by tech company Flint Avenue, LLC. Without addressing the merits of the company’s challenge to the new rule, the court found that a preliminary inunction was not needed because the company did not have any exempt employees who would immediately be rendered nonexempt under the new rule on July 1, 2024. The company conceded that the one
Continue Reading Tech Firm’s Attempt to Block Overtime Rule Falls Short

On Friday, a federal district court granted a preliminary injunction sought by the State of Texas to block implementation of the U.S. Department of Labor’s new rule increasing minimum salaries for overtime exempt employee. However, the court limited the effect of its injunction to the State of Texas as an employer.

The court concluded that the DOL exceeded its authority by making salary level, rather than job duties, the deciding factor in determining whether many employees fall within the executive, administrative, and professional exemptions under the Fair Labor Standards Act. Although Texas asked for a nationwide injunction, the court declined
Continue Reading Court Blocks New DOL Rule – But Only for Texas

With the DOL’s new overtime exemption rule set to go into effect on July 1 and no ruling yet on the state of Texas’s motion to put the rule on hold, employers will need to decide what to do with exempt employees whose minimum salary falls below the new threshold.

For some employees, the best path may be to convert an exempt employee’s salary to an hourly rate so that employees’ take home pay remains steady once overtime is factored in. In principle, this is relatively simple: just calculate how many hours the employee is expected to work, then do
Continue Reading Converting Exempt Employees to Non-Exempt

The clock is quickly ticking down to July 1, when the U.S. Department of Labor’s new rule increasing the minimum salary for many employees to be considered exempt from overtime under the Fair Labor Standards Act is supposed to take effect. When a similar rule was supposed to take effect back in 2016, the clock was paused at the last moment by a federal judge in Texas, who found that the DOL exceeded its authority under the FLSA by making salary rather than job duties the controlling factor for whether an employee is an exempt executive, administrative, or professional employee.
Continue Reading Will The New Overtime Rule Take Effect July 1?

A common question for schools assessing how to comply with the new overtime exemption rule published by the U.S. DOL is what to do about coaches and athletic trainers in light of the new minimum salary requirement for the executive, administrative and professional exemptions.

For coaches, two exemptions may still apply even if the coach’s salary falls below the new thresholds of $884 per week (starting July 1, 2024) or $1,128 per week (starting January 1, 2025). A coach whose primary job duties are instructing student athletes on topics such as athletic performance, physical health, team concepts, and safety, or
Continue Reading Coaches and Athletic Trainers Under the New FLSA Exemption Rules

The U.S. Department of Labor recently published new final regulations that increase the minimum salary level for most employees to be considered exempt under the executive, administrative, and professional exemptions to the Fair Labor Standards Act. While these new rules could affect some 4 million workers, not all exempt employees are subject to the minimum salary requirement.

Most significantly, the professional exemption for teachers does not have any salary basis or salary level requirement. A teacher, for purposes of the FLSA, is an employee whose primary duty is teaching, tutoring, instructing, or lecturing to impart knowledge, performed as an employee
Continue Reading Not All Exempt Employees Are Affected by the New Minimum Salary Rule

On April 23, 2024, the U.S. Department of Labor issued final regulations updating the minimum salary threshold for employees to be considered exempt from overtime requirements under the Fair Labor Standards Act. The regulations are scheduled to be published in the Federal Register on April 26, 2024. The new rules increase the minimum salary from the current level of $684 per week (about $35,568 per year) to $844 per week (about $43,888 per year) effective July 1, 2024, and $1,128 per week (about $58,656 per year) effective January 1, 2025. According to the final rule, $844 per week is the
Continue Reading U.S. DOL Updates Salary Thresholds for Overtime Exemptions

In April, the Illinois Department of Labor published new regulations regarding the expense reimbursement requirements in Section 9.5 of the Illinois Wage Payment and Collection Act. The Act requires an employer to reimburse an employee for “all necessary expenditures or losses incurred by the employee within the employee’s scope of employment and directly related to services performed by the employer.” It defines “necessary expenditures” as “all reasonable expenditures or losses required of the employee in the discharge of employment duties that inure to the primary benefit of the employer.”

In an apparent effort to add some clarity to these
Continue Reading New Reimbursement Rules for Illinois Employers

In 2018, Congress added a provision to the Fair Labor Standards Act prohibiting employers from retaining employee tips or allowing managers or supervisors to participate in a tip pooling arrangement. Today, the U.S. Department of Labor announced a new final regulation in which the DOL asserts authority to penalize employers up to $1,100 per violation of this provision, on top of any back wages owed. Prior rules published by the Trump administration also provided for civil penalties, but only in cases of “repeated and willful” violations. The new rule allows the DOL to pursue penalties even for a first offense
Continue Reading New DOL Rule Adds Civil Penalties for Taking Employee Tips

Wage and hour law is full of traps for the unwary. Even compensation practices that are well-accepted across an entire industry can sometimes create huge headaches for employers in the face of a legal challenge. Case in point: A recent decision by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in Hewitt v. Helix Energy Solutions Group, Case No. 19-20023, in is causing upheaval in the energy sector by suggesting that even highly paid supervisory employees may be entitled to overtime pay on top of their six-figure compensation because they are paid a day rate rather than a weekly salary.

The Highly
Continue Reading Even High Earning Supervisors Can Be Entitled to Overtime

Wage and hour violations in Illinois just got a lot more expensive. On Friday, July 9, 2021, Governor Pritzker signed an amendment to the Illinois Wage Payment and Collection Act that increases the penalty for underpaying wages from 2% of the amount of the underpayment per month to 5%. That may not sound like a lot, but it adds up fast.
Suppose a former employee claims that their employer failed to pay them $5,000 in vacation pay upon separation from employment. Employees have up to 10 years to file a lawsuit under the Act, so it may be several years
Continue Reading Illinois More than Doubles Penalties for Wage & Hour Violations

The Department of Labor (“DOL”) released an opinion letter addressing whether certain overtime payments based on an expected number of hours may be credited towards the amount of overtime pay owed under the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) and whether such overtime payments are excludable from the regular rate. The answer to both questions is yes.
The inquiry came from a business that provides in-home care services on a live-in basis or for shifts of 24 hours or more. The employer pays an hourly rate plus overtime based on anticipated overtime hours. The caregivers typically work five days a week
Continue Reading Pay Me Now, or Pay Me Later? Wages Paid for Anticipated Overtime are Excludable from Employees’ Regular Rate

On September 8, 2020, the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York struck down portions of a January 2020 Final Rule issued by the Department of Labor. The Final Rule provided a new test for determining whether an entity is a joint employer with another entity under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The Final Rule, which became effective in March of 2020, severely limited the situations in which an entity can be considered a joint employer and held liable for violations of the FLSA in a “vertical” joint employment relationship. A vertical joint employment relationship
Continue Reading DOL’s Joint Employer Test Ruled Illegal

In Field Assistance Bulletin No. 2020-4, issued June 26, 2020, the United States Department of Labor, Wage and Hour Division, recognized a number of ways an employee can establish eligibility for Family First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) leave based on the closure of a summer camp or program that the employee claims would have been the place of care for the employee’s child over the summer. In addition to proof of actual enrollment or application to a camp or program, if an employee’s child attended a camp or program in the summer of 2018 or 2019 and the child
Continue Reading DOL Broadly Defines When a Summer Camp or Program is a Child’s Place of Care for FFCRA Leave

I believe most would agree, the Department of Labor’s (DOL) interpretative guidance typically provides useful insight to employers navigating often tricky wage and hour laws. This was not the case with the DOL’s decades-old guidance regarding whether an employer was a “retail or service establishment” and could claim an overtime exemption for certain employees paid on commission under Section 7(i) of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). In its interpretative guidance, the DOL created lists of industries that were either not recognized as retail establishments, or could possibly be recognized as retail establishments. In an action that should be mostly
Continue Reading DOL Withdraws Industry Lists from its Retail or Service Establishment Exemption Interpretative Rule

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has issued a final rule under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) expressly authorizing employers to offer bonuses, hazard pay, and other premiums to employees whose hours, and regular rate of pay, vary from week to week.
The final rule revises 29 CFR §778.114, which is the DOL regulation that specifies how overtime is to be computed for salaried, non-exempt employees who work a fluctuating workweek. The new rule clarifies that bonuses, premium payments, commissions, and hazard pay on top of fixed salaries are compatible with the fluctuating workweek method of compensation and that
Continue Reading DOL Green Lights Bonuses for Employees with Fluctuating Work Schedules