The United States Department of Labor just settled a federal lawsuit filed, ironically, against the U.S. labor department for violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).  The lawsuit asserted that Labor Department employees had not received proper payment for all hours worked, including all overtime compensation.  Allegations inlcuded that the DOL improperly classified many of its workers, including labeling many as exempt who were in fact, non-exempt.  This settlement – valued at $7M – shows the difficulty in making proper classifications and that no one is immune.    In fact, statistics show that nearly 80% of employers have made classification errors.  When misclassifications occur, employees may lose out of valuable take home pay.     Ensuring that you are properly classified – at that your employer is in compliance – is especially important with changes to the FLSA to be implemented soon.

The new regulations will raise the salary threshold set forth by the FLSA that serves as the minimum pay an employee can receive before an employer may classify the worker as exempt. This level will be increased from $455 per week to $913 per week, making potentially millions more Americans eligible for overtime pay.

If you have questions about your eligibility for overtime pay, your status as exempt vs. non-exempt or any other wage and hour concern, please contact the experienced Atlanta wage and hour lawyers for an immediate consultation.

As companies and employers begin preparation for the new Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) amendments to take effect, the incidence of wage and hour lawsuits continues to rise.  Most often, this occurs when employers fail to pay their employees the overtime compensation they are entitled to.   A number of issues may be to blame.  These include the misclassification of a worker as exempt, when they are really non-exempt.  The error in classification may be intentional – overtime compensation can add up, so unscrupulous employers may try to avoid paying premium wages in order to save money – or it may simply be an oversight.  Exemption laws can be confusing, often no bright line test exists directing an employer to designate certain employees as entitled to overtime and others not.

Additionally, sometimes inconsistencies exist between state and federal laws which lead to errors in payment.  In order to avoid wage and hour compensation mistakes, employers should maintain consistent classificiation guildelines, and ensure that these guidelines are up-to-date.  This is especially true as December 1, the date the amendments become effective, approaches.
If you have questions about your pay, or are concerned that you have been misclassified are not receiving the compesnation you are entitled to, please contact the experienced Atlanta wage and hour lawyers at Buckley Beal, LLP for an immediate consultation.

A recent report from Emory University in Atlanta notes that the school is preparing to implement the new Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) regulations.  These amendments increase the salary threshold that must be met before workers can be considered exempt from $23,660 to $47,476.  This change will allow significantly more workers to be entitled to overtime pay than previously.   According to a human resources representative, the HR department is working hard to identify the exact positions that have previously fallen within the exempt categories, but will no longer meet the criteria due to the FLSA changes.

As with most workplaces across the country,  some employees will now receive overtime pay for time put in over 40 hours (at a rate of one and one-half their standard rate of pay), other workers hours will be limited to a set 40 hours, so to eliminate the need to pay overtime compensation.

If you believe that you may be affected by the FLSA amendments or have any wage and hour questions, please contact the experienced Georgia wage and hour lawyers at Buckley Beal, LLP for an immediate consultation.

As many are aware, amendments to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) will take effect this January.  One of the critical changes is the increase in the salary threshold, which will make many more workers eligible for overtime pay. By raising the threshold, those who make less than $913 may be entitled to overtime compensation if they work more than 40 hours in any one work week.  While this change is significant, it is also important to examine the other components of what makes a worker exempt and thus not entitled to overtime pay, regardless of how many hours they work.

Generally, 3 types of white collar exemptions exist that are affected by the salary threshold.  These include the  executive, administrative and professional exemptions.  An employer determines if a worker falls into one of these categories by reviewing their duties.  For example, the executive exemption to apply – you must be in a position of leadership.  This may include managing a department, routinely overseeing at least two employees, and have the authority to hire and fire, or be in a role where your recommendations are given weight. The administrative exemption applies where your duties are directly related to the managment or general business operations of the employer.  The professional exemption applies to the job duties of the traditional “learned professions” such as doctors, lawyers, dentists, architects and teachers.

If you fall into one of these exempt categories, and you make more than the salary threshold, you may not be entitled to overtime pay.

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) provides many protections to the majority of workers in America, including minimum wage and overtime pay for non-exempt workers who put in more than 40 hours in any one work week.  However, many workers who telecommute wonder how these rules apply to them and whether they are entitled to wage protections.

According to statistics, roughly 37% of US workers have telecommuted. Telecommuting creates challenges including how to keep track of time – what if workers work through breaks and meal periods?  What about  time spent on required travel to meetings, taking calls “after-hours” and responding to meals?

If you telecommute, you should take a few simple steps to ensure you receive all the compensation you are entitled to.  First, before you enter into an arrangement, discuss wage and hour issues with your employer so that you both have a clear understanding of expectations.  This includes discussing hour requirements.  Your employer should to make additional demands on your time that aren’t required of other workers.  In order to ensure you are not taken advantage of, its important to keep a strict record of your hours.   It may also be a good idea to have a written agreement or terms of employment to refer to should your employer request work outside of your normal scope.

The Department of Labor (DOL) has just released its new, updated poster with amended Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) rules.  Keep your eye out for the new poster, which replaces last year’s and provides notice to employees concerning updated regulations.

The FLSA requires that employees be paid at least the federal minimum wage (currently $7.25/hour), and provides that non-exempt employees may be entitled to received overtime compensation for hours worked in excess of 40 hours at a rate of one and one-half times their standard hourly wage.

Pursuant to law, any employer of employees subject to the FLSA’s minimum wage provisions must post, and keep posted, a notice explaining the Act in a conspicuous place in all of their establishments. While no specific poster size requirements exist, employees must be able to readily read it.

With the new Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) guidelines set to come out January 1, 2017, many employees and employers have questions about how this will affect their take home pay and whether they’ll be entitled to overtime pay. Pursuant to the amended guidelines, the new salary level threshold has been increased from $455/week to $913/week. This means that many employees that earn more than $455 but less than $913 should be reclassified from exempt to non-exempt, thus entitling them to bring home overtime pay. Overtime pay is typically calculated by multiplying a workers standard rate of pay by 1 and ½ times, and is provided for all time worked in excess of 40 hours in any one workweek.

However, many wonder how bonuses affect that calculation. In certain circumstances, employers may be able to count non-discretionary bonuses and commissions toward the salary basis to determine whether the employees should be considered exempt or nonexempt. This may be the case where these bonuses are paid on a regular basis – quarterly or more frequent.   These payments are limited to 10% of the salary threshold. On the other hand, discretionary bonuses – those that are determined at the sole discretion of the employer – may not be included in determining an employee’s standard rate.

For more information or if you have questions concerning whether you should be receiving overtime pay, contact the experienced Atlanta wage and hour lawyers at Buckley Beal, LLP for an immediate consultation.

 

Pursuant to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), employers may take the amount a worker earns in tip to “offset” the amount they are required to pay towards minimum wage. However, very specific rules exist concerning when an employer may claim a “tip credit.” For example, employers may only apply “tip credits” when the worker is allowed to retain all of their tips.

A recent case addressed the issue of tip credits when credit cards are involved. In this instance, the employer deducted expenses from credit card tips for fees charged by the credit card companies. The court determined that this practice is not acceptable pursuant to the FLSA. However, because the amount of fees taken was minimal, the restaurant that employed this practice did so in good faith. Going forward however, the court noted that employers should be on notice that employers may not apply credit card tips as a credit toward minimum wage if they are deducting processing costs.

Courts are taking a closer look at tipping practices, and making efforts to ensure that they are carried out appropriately. If you are a tipped employee and have questions or concerns about your pay, please contact the experienced Atlanta wage and hour lawyers at Buckely Beal, LLP for an immediate consutlation.

With several wage and hour amendments set to become effective later this year, it’s important for employees to understand their rights in order to ensure they are paid all of the wages they deserve.

For example, employers may fail to pay workers overtime compensation that they are entitled to because they mistakenly classify them as “exempt.”  With the salary threshold having recently been increased from $455/week to $913/week, millions of Americans who were previously considered exempt, and hence not able to receive overtime pay, may now be able to bring home significant additional wages.

While many more people may be considered “non-exempt” due to the threshold, once that threshold is achieved, it is still critical to determine whether a worker should rightfully be classified as “exempt v. non-exempt.”   Workers who make over the salary threshold and perform a variety of “white-collar” duties may be considered exempt, and not entitled to overtime pay, regardless of the number of hours worked.

The fight for an increased minimum wage has gained steam over the last year, with many cities adopting a $15/hour minimum wage, and some states such as New Jersey, considering a statewide higher wage.   While the federal minimum wage remains at $7.25, the Obama administration has pushed for legislation increasing the wage, and the Democratic Party has now included passage of a $15 minimum wage as part of its platform.

Raising the minimum wage has several benefits. First, on obvious benefit is that those lower wage earners would increase their take home pay. This could in turn raise the family income, and reduce the number of families living in poverty.

Further, the increase in pay could boost the local economies where lower wage workers live. Statistics show that the increased dollars earned are used to buy necessities – such as food, clothing and shelter – and as a result, more money would flow into these businesses.   While opponents claim that a higher minimum wage may lead to job loss, studies show that this is not the case.