Wage & Hour Insights

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Earlier today (March 7, 2019), the U.S. Department of Labor announced new proposed regulations (.pdf) that would increase the minimum salary for employees to qualify for the Executive, Administrative, and Professional exemptions under the Fair Labor Standards Act to $679 per week, equivalent to $35,308 per year. This is an increase from the current minimum of $455 per week ($23,660 per year), set in 2004. However, it is significantly less than the $913 per week ($47,476 per year) minimum established in final regulations issued in 2016 and later blocked by a federal court.Unlike the ill-fated 2016 regulations, the new proposed
Continue Reading DOL Proposes $35,308 Minimum Salary For Exempt Employees

On February 15, 2019, the U.S. Department of Labor issued Field Assistance Bulletin No. 2019-2, providing additional guidance for Wage and Hour Division staff regarding how to apply tip credit rules for employees who perform both tip-generating work (like taking orders and serving) and other duties. We provided an overview of the DOL’s position on the issue in an earlier post (“What Duties Can a Server Perform Under the Tip Credit Rules?“).This latest bulletin doesn’t break new ground, but does provide a useful summary of the DOL’s current take on how the tip credit under FLSA Section
Continue Reading DOL Releases Additional Guidance on Dual Jobs for Tipped Employees

On February 19, 2019, Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker signed Senate Bill 1, which increases the minimum wage in Illinois to $15 per hour by 2025. Under the new law, the minimum wage will increase from $8.25 to $9.25 on January 1, 2020, to $10.00 on July 1, 2020. Thereafter, the minimum wage will increase by $1.00 per hour each January 1, until it reaches $15.00 per hour on January 1, 2025. To mitigate the sting for small employers, the law allows employers with 50 or fewer employees to claim a tax credit for 25% of the cost of the increase
Continue Reading Stiff New Employer Penalties Included In Illinois $15 Minimum Wage Law (Updated)

Oh the weather outside is frightful …No, seriously, it’s actually dangerous here in Chicago. Since much of the city seems to be on lock-down today as we all try not to freeze to death, this seems like a good time to review the rules relating to employee pay during weather-related shut-downs.
For non-exempt employees, the rule is pretty simple: Unless you have promised to do otherwise, you only have to pay non-exempt employees for the hours that they actually work. If you are shut down due to weather, you are not typically obligated to pay non-exempt employees. If you choose
Continue Reading Pay Freeze? Winter Weather and the FLSA

Back in 2008, Illinois enacted what at the time must have seemed like a relatively obscure law to address privacy concerns associated with biometric information – the Biometric Information Privacy Act or “BIPA”. At the time, biometric devices existed, but they weren’t terribly common. Today, many of us carry a sophisticated fingerprint reader or face scanner in our pockets, and many businesses have adopted biometric security for everything from company phones and computers to timekeeping systems to door access. Unfortunately, many of those same businesses had never heard of BIPA. Cue the lawyers.Back in July 2017, we reported on several class
Continue Reading It's BAAA-aaack – Illinois Supreme Court Revives Biometric Data Claims

The idea seems so simple: Instead of carefully tracking how much time each employee takes off during the year, we all agree to treat one another as professional, responsible adults, and take off whatever time we need consistent with getting our work done. That’s the idea behind unlimited vacation or PTO policies, and it does seem great in theory. Employees get flexibility. Employers don’t have to book accrued vacation or PTO or worry themselves about complicated recordkeeping. Everyone is happy.Until, that is, the government and the lawyers get involved.
Lawmakers and regulators often are not “out of the box” thinkers.
Continue Reading Unlimited Vacation – Wave of the Future or Potential Liability?

As the holiday lights start to fade, we come to one of the most anticipated times of the year – bonus season!Such a happy time. Who doesn’t love getting a bonus, and what employer doesn’t like rewarding good performance with some extra monetary recognition? Bonuses are great, but keep in mind that they also carry some legal obligations. In the case of non-exempt employees, that might include paying additional overtime based on your bonus payment. The FLSA requires employers to pay overtime based upon an employee’s “regular rate” of pay. The regular rate is not simply the employee’s base hourly
Continue Reading Are your bonuses really discretionary?

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 these tasks?A. Short answer: it depends.
Long answer: Specifically, it depends on whether the extra duties assigned to your servers are directly related to the servers’ “tip-producing occupation.” The U.S. Department of Labor recently re-issued a previously-withdrawn opinion letter dealing with this subject. The letter is
Continue Reading What Duties Can A Server Perform Under the Tip Credit Rules? [Wage & Hour FAQ]