New DOL Rule Increases Minimum Salary Requirements for Exempt Employees Starting 12/01/16

12/01/16: This Rule is currently on hold, per court order. Please read the latest article for news updates on this topic.

On May 23, 2016, the Department of Labor announced a new, final rule that will take effect on December 1, 2016. To the relief of employers, the new rule does not make any changes to the criteria for classifying employees as exempt. Employers can continue to classify employees as exempt or non-exempt under the same duties tests and criteria they used in the past. However, the principal change comes in the form of several heightened minimum salary requirements.

The DOL estimates that in the first year as many as 4.2 million workers would either need to: (1) be reclassified as non-exempt and paid overtime whenever they work more than 40 hours in a workweek; or (2) receive an increase in their salary to meet the new requirement.

exempt-well-maybeUnder the new rule, the minimum annual salary for exempt employees will more than double, from $23,660 ($455 per week) to $47,476 ($921 a week). The minimum annual salary for highly compensated employees will also increase from $100,000 to $134,004. Furthermore, these minimums will continue to automatically increase every three years.

In a new addition to the rule, employers will now be permitted to satisfy up to 10 percent of the annual salary level through non-discretionary bonus and incentive payments, including commissions. Payments to health insurance policies, however, may not be used to satisfy the salary requirement. Continue reading

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When and How Must an Employee Be Compensated for Travel Time?

businessman at the airport

There are various factors that influence whether an employee must be compensated for his or her travel time to a new work site, or for off-site employment activity. One of the main factors to consider is whether the employee is actually engaging in travel as part of the employer’s principal activity or, whether the employee is engaging in travel for the convenience of the employer.

At the federal level, the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) is the primary law governing travel pay. The standard asks whether the employee’s time is spent primarily for the benefit of the employer. It also includes time spent, even if not doing work, but under the control of the employer, such as on-site, on-call time.

Pursuant to California’s Labor Code, the standard comes down to whether the employee is

subject to the control of the employer; the concept of “control” is narrower than federal standard. While the federal and state laws overlap, California’s Labor Code is of course generally more liberal and more protective of employees.

California Law

The definition of hours worked is found in the Industrial Welfare Commission Orders, and refers to the time during which the employee is subject to the control travel-timeof an employer, and includes all the time the employee is “suffered or permitted to work,” whether or not required to do so. State law does not distinguish between hours worked during the “normal” working hours, or hours worked outside “normal” working hours, nor does it distinguish between hours worked in connection with an overnight out-of-town assignment. Continue reading

Show Them the Money! California Employer Responsibility for Payday, Overtime, and Wage Statements

by Jennifer A. Grady, Esq.

California employers are required to follow the following state and federal laws regarding paydays, final paychecks, overtime, and wage statements. As failure to do so can result in significant penalties, interest, and attorney’s fees, employers must ensure that they are in compliance with the applicable laws below.

I. PAYDAY

payday word circle marked on a calendar

Employees must be paid wages at least twice per calendar month on specific days, as established by company policy. Pursuant to California Labor Code § 207, the regular pay day schedule must be posted in a conspicuous/obvious place on a notice showing the time, day, and location of payment.

Wages earned between the 1st and 15th days of the month must be paid by the 26th day of the month during which the labor was performed. Wages earned between the 16th and the last day of the month must be paid by the 10th day of the following month. Labor Code § 204(a). Continue reading

Can’t I Just Hire an Intern? What Employers Need to Know to Stay Compliant With California Law

By Jennifer A. Grady, Esq. and Gayane Khechoomian, Esq.

Photo Credit Buzzghana.com

Photo Credit Buzzghana.com

Internship programs provide great benefits to businesses and interns alike, but employers must comply with both California and Federal laws in order to avoid potential lawsuits and fines.

To clarify, a person hired as an unpaid intern must (1) be a student enrolled in an accredited academic program and receive academic credit for the internship, or (2) be enrolled in a program that provides training and is approved by a public agency.  If the intern is not part of an accredited program, the employer must pay the intern at least minimum wage for all hours worked. Continue reading