We recently prepared a post for our friends at www.jurisbrewdence.com, who write about interesting issues in the craft beer industry (yeah we know, rough life right?). Our post was about a recent decision from the United States District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania, which brought some clarity to the issue of which employees may participate in employee tip pools. As you may recall, we previously discussed employee tip pools, which can be risky and problematic, particularly when deciding which employees will share in the pooled tips.
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In response to President Obama’s Executive Order earlier this year, the Department of Labor has issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) to establish standards and procedures for raising the minimum wage paid to employees of federal construction and service contractors to $10.10 per hour beginning January 1, 2015 and then increased on a yearly basis beginning January 1, 2016. Federal contractors have until July 17, 2014 to comment on the proposed regulations that could have a large impact on contractors’ operations.
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Many employers treat their sales employees as exempt from the Fair Labor Standards Act’s overtime and minimum wage requirements. Regardless of whether they pay them a salary, commissions, or some combination of both, employers often assume that all salespersons are exempt and not entitled to overtime. Depending on the circumstances, this assumption can be problematic and costly.
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Yesterday, President Obama signed a Presidential Memorandum directing the Secretary of Labor to “modernize and streamline” the existing Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) overtime regulations, specifically with respect to the “white collar” exemptions. The FLSA’s white collar exemptions apply to covered professional, administrative, and professional employees. Last updated in 2004, the FLSA regulations on the white collar exemptions generally require that an employee receive a guaranteed minimum salary of at least $455 per week and meet one of the duties tests to qualify for an exemption to the FLSA’s minimum wage and overtime compensation requirements.
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In last night’s State of the Union Address, President Barack Obama announced that he planned to sign an Executive Order requiring that employees of federal contractors be paid at least a minimum wage of $10.10 per hour. This represents a $2.85 increase over the current federal and Pennsylvania minimum wage of $7.25 per hour. Specifically, the President said, “In the coming weeks I will issue an executive order requiring federal contractors to pay their federally-funded employees a fair wage of at least $10.10 an hour because if you cook our troops’ meals or wash their dishes, you should not have to live in poverty.”
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On Monday, January 27, 2014, the United States Supreme Court unanimously ruled that a group of unionized steel workers at U.S. Steel Corporation did not need to be compensated for the time they spent “donning and doffing” safety gear before and after work. Justice Antonin Scalia wrote for the majority in Sandifer v. United States Steel Corp., Case No. 12-417 (Jan. 27, 2014), a case he described as requiring the Court to determine the meaning of the phrase “changing clothes” under section 203(o) of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Although section 203(o) applies only to employers with collective bargaining agreements, certain aspects of the decision could have broader implications in “hours worked” cases under the FLSA.
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Recently, Adam R. Long, a Member in McNees Wallace & Nurick LLC’s Labor and Employment Law Group prepared a White Paper regarding Wage and Hour Compliance Priorities for 2014.

Employers should conduct regular and comprehensive wage and hour audits that examine all facets of the employer’s pay practices to ensure compliance with the myriad wage and hour laws. That said, we recognize that HR professionals, in-house counsel, and senior management have very limited time and resources to devote to wage and hour compliance. This complimentary white paper discusses specific areas where employers should focus their wage and hour compliance efforts in 2014.
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In a recent blog post, we discussed the legal issues associated with employer use of payroll debit cards in lieu of printed paychecks. We concluded that because of the lack of federal and state regulatory guidance on the issue, it was unclear whether employers could elect to pay wages exclusively through payroll debit cards.

Last week, the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) issued Bulletin 2013-10 (pdf) on the subject of payroll card accounts.
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