The #MeToo movement brought the issue of sexual harassment to the forefront. While claims of sexual harassment in the workplace are not new, the focus on this issue increases employers’ potential risk for complaints and related liabilities. In response, many states have enacted new laws meant to combat workplace harassment. Several states have imposed a requirement to provide training for employees on preventing sexual harassment and discrimination, and the deadline to provide the training is rapidly approaching.
It has been a busy few weeks, requiring your warehouse employees to work overtime. Given the demand, the warehouse employees were also paid a production bonus based on the amount of flooring processed. To calculate the wages owed for those extra hours of work, your payroll office took each employee’s hourly rate and multiplied it by 1 and a half and paid the overtime rate for the extra hours worked. Seems simple enough. But did you include the performance bonuses? If not, you underpaid these employees.
Minimum wage will increase in 19 states and 21 cities and counties on January 1, with many reaching $15 an hour. Twenty-one additional jurisdictions will raise pay later in the year. Obviously, an increase in the minimum wage will impact the pay for most employees paid the minimum wage. Just because a retailer pays more than minimum wage, however, does not mean it can ignore these increases.
The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 (the New Tax Law) made many changes in tax code. The New Tax Law substantially lowered tax rates on all businesses, whether they pay taxes as a C or S corporation. In exchange for the lower rates, the New Tax Law also eliminated or reduced some popular and widely used business deductions. The New Law also raised many questions and created some confusion as to what is and is not a deductible business expense.
One of the first actions by the Department of Labor (DOL) under President Trump’s administration was to withdraw the prior administration’s interpretation that “most workers are employees” and not independent contractors. For more information, see Independent Contractors—Another BUT Welcome Change, at The Law, The Floor, and You (June 12, 2017)
Three states and at least fifteen localities have increased their minimum wage effective July 1. 2018. Listed below are the minimum wage levels for these states and localities. This list is compiled from available information with some conflicting information. In addition, there may be other localities that have raised its minimum wage that was not included in this list. It is therefore key that you check with your state Department of Labor for rates and wages specific to your location.
The requirement on wages and overtime are often confusing and misunderstood. Does minimum wage apply to commissioned employees? When is overtime due? What information must be proved to employees and what records must be kept? Do you have to pay for the time an employee is being trained or on breaks? Is overtime due if I pay an employee a piece rate or a fixed salary? And what about comp time? Make a mistake on one of these issues, and an employer could be liable for back wages, interest, attorney fees, and penalties.
The Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD) launched a new pilot program to facilitate resolution overtime and minimum wage violations under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and without litigation. Referred to as the Payroll Audit Independent Determination (PAID) program, it is a six-month pilot initiative that allows employers to conduct self-audits of their payroll practices and voluntarily report underpayments to WHD, who would supervise the back payments.
A year and a half ago, the industry was a buzz over revisions to the federal wage and hour regulations that require managers be paid overtime if they made less than $47,476 a year, more than doubling the prior $23,660 wage requirement. See Do You Pay Your Managers Overtime? You May Need to Under New Federal Regulation WFCA’s Premier Flooring Retailer (July/August 2016). A week before the rule was to be effective, a federal court enjoined the rule and everyone breathed a sigh of relief.
Whether installing or fixing a hardwood floor, a subfloor or molding, whether making minor repairs, or attaching shoe molding, a nail gun is likely to be used. Do you require your installers to wear eye protection every time a nail gun is used? As a company in Alabama found out, it can be costly to ignore such protection. Specifically, the Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued a serious citation against a framing contractor for allowing employees to use automatic nail guns without proper eye protection and fined the company $113,073.