Articles tagged 'Labor Dept.'

Compensation, HR News & Trends

Voter Actions Undercut Federal Push for $10.10 Minimum Wage

minimum wage

By John E. Thompson

Earlier this month, several states and localities voted in favor of increasing their minimum wage.

Right on cue, many (including U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez) seized upon these results as ostensibly supporting an increase in the federal Fair Labor Standards Act‘s rate to $10.10 per hour.

On the contrary, the developments emphasize that no such nationwide action is either wise or warranted. Read more…

HR News & Trends, Legal Issues

NLRB General Counsel Goes After McDonalds and Business Franchises

mcdonalds

By Michael J. Lotito

In a move that could have a dramatic impact on the franchise business model, National Labor Relations Board General Counsel Richard Griffin has announced that his office intends to name a parent franchisor as a respondent in cases involving alleged unfair labor practices committed by franchisees if the parties are unable to reach a settlement.

According to the Board, the agency is currently investigating the various charges, and may name the franchisor company — fast food giant McDonalds  – as a joint employer should a complaint be issued. Read more…

HR News & Trends, Legal Issues

What Is an Intern? The Labor Dept. Lists the 6 Factors That Define One

internships

By John E. Thompson

We wrote some time ago about a lower federal court’s determination in Glatt v. Fox Searchlight Pictures that at least two unpaid interns were “employees” for federal Fair Labor Standards Act purposes.

This ruling is now being reviewed by the New York-based Second U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals (with jurisdiction over Connecticut, New York, and Vermont). The U.S. Department of Labor has submitted a friend-of-the-court brief in which it supports the lower court’s decision.

The Labor Department’s filing provides some interesting insight into its views about when an intern is an “employee” for purposes of the FLSA’s requirements. Read more…

HR News & Trends, Legal Issues

High Court Extends Sarbanes-Oxley Whistleblower Law to Most Employees

123RF Stock Photos

By Ed Ellis, Gregory Keating, and Stephen Melnick

In Lawson v. FMR LLC, the U.S. Supreme Court massively expanded the scope of the anti-retaliation provision of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX), from 4,500 publicly held companies to millions of private companies that are “contractors,” “subcontractors” or “agents” of a publicly held company.

Going forward, privately held employers should be aware that SOX provides a remedy for almost all U.S. employees who suffer adverse employment actions for reporting fraud. Employers should train their management and human resources personnel to identify potential employment issues of this type and remedy them before they become costly litigation. Read more…

HR Basics, Legal Issues

Get Ready, Because the H-1B Visa Games Are Ready to Begin

H-1B-Visa

By Shanon R. Stevenson

The Hunger Games Katniss Everdeen’s bow and arrow will not help employers on April 1, 2014 when the competition for H-1B work visas begins.

On April 1, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) begins accepting H-1B petitions for foreign workers in professional or specialty occupation jobs to fill the 65,000 available slots for applicants who hold a bachelor’s degree or the equivalent and the 20,000 available slots for applicants who hold a U.S. master’s degree or higher. Read more…

Compensation, HR News & Trends

Curtailing “White Collar” Overtime Exemptions Will Take a Lot of Work

No-overtime

By John E. Thompson

President Obama has instructed the U.S. Department of Labor to revise the federal Fair Labor Standards Act‘s so-called “white collar” exemptions in a “Presidential Memorandum” released on March 13.

This effort is intended (as The New York Times put it apparently in light of a White House briefing) to “force American businesses to pay more overtime to millions of workers …”

Since the FLSA’s 1938 enactment, its Section 13(a)(1) has exempted executive, administrative, professional, and outside-sales employees from its minimum-wage and overtime requirements. The FLSA specifically tasks the U.S. Secretary of Labor (not the President) with “defin[ing] and delimit[ing]” these exemptions. The current regulations were last revised in 2004. Read more…

Compensation, HR News & Trends

President Obama Proposing Big Expansion of Overtime Rules

obama jobless

In what could be BIG news for employers, President Obama is directing the U.S. Department of Labor to issue proposed regulations that would expand the number of employees who are eligible for overtime.

The regulations would raise the minimum salary an employee must receive to fall under the white collar exemption of the Fair Labor Standards Act.

Right now, the salary threshold is $455 per week (roughly $24,000 a year). While it’s not clear what the new threshold would be, some speculate that it could more than double.

One recent proposal would raise the limit to $984 per week (about $50,000 a year). Under that scenario, experts estimate that more than 5 million employees would be entitled to overtime who currently are not. Read more…

HR News & Trends

President’s Budget Would Continue Push For More Workplace Enforcement

obama

By Ilyse Wolens Schuman

This week, the White House released its $3.9 trillion budget proposal for Fiscal Year 2015.

While such proposals are more aspirational than anything else, they do provide insight into the programs and initiatives the Administration deems priorities for the coming year. The budget for the U.S. Department of Labor is notable because it reflects the Agency’s continued emphasis on enforcement.

The proposal would grant the Labor Department $11.8 billion in discretionary funding, much of which would support the enforcement of wage and hour, worker misclassification, whistleblower, and employment safety laws. Read more…

HR News & Trends

Weekly Wrap: The Scariest Issues Employers Are Facing Today

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Earlier this week, amidst all the Valentine’s Day-themed surveys and pitches, I got something interesting from XpertHR, the website that provides online compliance tools and guidance for HR professionals.

The interesting part was this: it was labeled as the “11 Scariest Issues Employers Face in 2014.”

Now, I get lots of pitches with surveys and reports that have equally ominous-sounding titles, but most don’t hold up to focused scrutiny. The difference in this report from XpertHR was that what they were touting as scary issues that employers face really DO seem pretty scary for anyone managing a business and a workforce. Read more…

Compensation, HR News & Trends

The President’s Minimum Wage Decision: What Does it Really Mean?

obama2

By. John E. Thompson

Considerable concern and confusion has arisen from President Obama’s State of the Union announcement that he will raise the minimum wage for individuals working on federal contracts to $10.10 per hour.

Until it is possible to study any Executive Order(s) he issues on the matter, the precise meaning, parameters, and effects of what he intends to do will remain unclear. As of this writing, no such order has been published in the Federal Register. Read more…