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Wage & Hour

HOT TOPIC: PIECE RATE, REST PERIODS AND NONPRODUCTIVE TIME

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Recent case law has established that employers must pay piece-rate employees separately for their “non-productive time”. Nonproductive time is time on the clock that is not spent actively engaged in the piece rate activity. Examples include rest periods, travel time, meetings, calisthenics, and heat illness recovery periods. As nonproductive time, employers must keep track of rest periods of and pay them separately from the piece rate. The rate at which employers must pay rest periods has not been conclusively established and is a current point of contention. For example, is the employee supposed to be paid at the minimum wage, a base hourly rate, or at the average piece rate earnings for the rest periods? 

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Walgreens Left Holding the Bag

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According to a proposed settlement filed last month in California federal court, Walgreen Co., which operates Walgreens Pharmacies (“Walgreens"), will pay $23 million to settle nine wage and hour class actions filed by the company’s employees alleging off-the-clock claims, failure to provide meal and rest breaks, unpaid overtime and failure to reimburse expenses.

 

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Will California Raise Minimum Wage Again?

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California’s Senate Labor and Industrial Relations Committee passed SB 935 by a vote of 3-1. SB 935 proposes to increase the minimum wage in California again and index it to inflation. Just a few short months ago, California raised the minimum wage to $8 per hour, with an increase to $9 on July 1, then $10 in 2016.

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Exemption Classification Refresher

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A recurring theme in wage and hour lawsuits filed this year is misclassification of employees as exempt and the resulting failure to properly pay overtime. Employers may be relieved from the payment of overtime premium—if an employee falls under an exemption. However, the requirements to meet the test of an exemption are very technical and employers should be cautious when classifying employees as exempt.

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MORE WAGE AND HOUR LAWSUITS ON THE HORIZON

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Wage and Hour class action lawsuits are the hottest trend this year for Plaintiffs’ attorneys in California. These lawsuits tend to recycle many familiar themes: failure to pay overtime, missed meal and rest periods and misclassified employees.

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McDonald’s Workers File Multiple Class-Action Lawsuits Alleging Widespread Wage Theft

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The following was published on businesswire.com

 

Attorneys representing McDonald’s workers in California, Michigan and New York this week filed class action lawsuits in federal and state courts claiming the fast food giant is systematically stealing employees’ wages by forcing them to work off the clock, shaving hours off their time cards, and not paying them overtime, among other practices.

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Obama to Order Expansion of Overtime Regulations

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President Obama plans to order the Labor Department to issue new overtime protections for “millions of workers” by expanding overtime pay. While the White House did not say how they will revise the regulations to ensure that workers are better compensated, they did cite their authority to regulate overtime under the 1938 Fair Labor Standards Act. That act requires most workers to be paid overtime but permits exemptions at the discretion of the Labor Department. One exemption permits employers to deny overtime pay to “executive, administrative and professional” workers.

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Obama's 2015 Budget Proposes a Significant Increase to the Wage and Hour Division

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On Tuesday, President Obama submitted his proposed budget for the 2015 fiscal year. Obama’s budget would give the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) $11.8 billion in discretionary funding. While this $200 million increase in the DOL’s budget is not unusual, Obama’s proposal calls for an increase of more than $41 million for the Wage and Hour Division (WHD). This would increase the WHD’s budget nearly 18 percent from the previous year. The proposed increase is intended to allow the WHD to hire up to 300 new investigators to target employers and industries “most likely to break the law,” according to the administration’s summary of its funding request for the Labor Department.

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WAGE AND HOUR ALERT!!!

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Though water may not be flowing in California, employers need to be aware of a different type of flood: wage and hour lawsuits. As previously reported by The Saqui Law Group on September 3, 2013, agricultural employers who utilize piece-rate systems must separately account for and pay for non-productive time at no less than the applicable minimum wage rate. Employers need to become familiar with the recent case law interpreting the payment requirement for non-productive time in order to make sure they are following the correct practice and avoid the recent flurry of lawsuits.

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Raise the Minimum Wage? Foes Say They'll Stop Tipping

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The following was written by Ben Popken and appears on ABCNews.com

There's a surprise side order of sourpuss getting served up in the national argument over raising the minimum wage: discontented workers say they'll stop tipping when they go out to eat.

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