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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Summer has finally arrived. While many of us will soon become consumed with pool parties, backyard barbeques, and well-deserved vacations, a new crop of summer interns is just beginning their first endeavor in the working world with the hope of making a lasting impression on prospective employers in their chosen fields.

However, it is becoming an increasingly risky proposition for employers to take on unpaid interns. In fact, in just the past few days, Warner Music Group, Atlantic Records, and media giant Condé Nast have all been sued by former interns who claim that they should have been compensated for their internships.
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McNees Wallace & Nurick LLC’s Alcoholic Beverage and Liquor License Practice Group recently published a Liquor Law Update, which can be accessed by clicking here.  The Update contains an article on employee tip pools that readers may find interesting. 

Whether you need to acquire a liquor license, sell a liquor license, keep a liquor license,

The Department of Labor (DOL) routinely investigates and audits employers to ensure compliance with a variety of important labor and employment laws. Historically, wage and hour (overtime) compliance under the Fair Labor Standards Act has been the most common subject of the DOL’s enforcement efforts.

Fueled by additional resources, funding and staffing, the DOL is increasing its enforcement efforts both in terms of frequency and scope. This concerning trend means that employers can expect an increase in the number of investigations and that such investigations, once initiated, will cover a broader range of compliance issues and dig deeper into those issues under review. In this regard, our clients are reporting that, in addition to typical wage and hour issues, expanded DOL inquiries as a matter of course now include review of other laws, such as the Family and Medical Leave Act, and even the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. It is also common for DOL investigations to “spread,” resulting in the inquiry ultimately moving into areas other than the initial issue under review.
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For Pennsylvania employers, 2012 was another eventful year in the world of wage and hour law. Even in the absence of new federal legislation, a number of noteworthy developments occurred at both the federal and state levels, confirming that wage and hour compliance remains a moving target for employers. This complimentary white paper summarizes ten of the more significant wage and hour developments in 2012 for Pennsylvania employers
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In the wage and hour realm, even the most knowledgeable Pennsylvania employers often are unaware of potential compliance pitfalls presented by state law. Like the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”), the Pennsylvania Minimum Wage Act (“PMWA”) contains overtime and minimum wage requirements applicable to Pennsylvania employers. The PMWA is similar, but not identical, to the FLSA, and compliance with the FLSA does not always guarantee compliance with this state law.

Earlier this week, a federal court in Pennsylvania highlighted another area where the requirements of the FLSA and PMWA arguably differ, and therefore, could lead to problems for the unwary employer.
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As in most types of class-based litigation, plaintiffs in FLSA collective actions typically seek certification of as broad a class as possible. As the number of potential class members grows, so does the size of the employer’s potential liability and the plaintiffs’ leverage to obtain a large and lucrative settlement. One way to broaden the class size is to include employees of the employer’s sister companies in the class, under the theory that the sister companies’ parent company qualifies as the plaintiffs’ “joint employer.”

In the context of an FLSA collective action, the Third Circuit recently considered and established the test to be used to determine whether a parent company qualifies as the “joint employer” of its subsidiaries’ employees under the FLSA.
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