Injunction Blocks December 1st Salary Changes Temporarily

There has been an injunction issued that will temporarily block the Department of Labor from implementing the revised white collar salary and overtime regulations on a nationwide basis. The injunction was issued by a federal court judge in Texas on the basis that the 21 states and several business organizations that filed cases would be irreparably harmed if the rule was not enjoined.  

The regulations scheduled to take effect on December 1st, 2016 would have raised the salary threshold for determining exempt status from $455 per week to $913 per week. While this injunction prevents the new regulations from taking effect on December 1st, it does not mean that this new rule will never be implemented. Employer groups are hopeful that the Trump administration will drastically revise the new set of regulations. The benefit of the proposed change in regulations has made many companies realize that there is a two-step process for determining exempt status. The two-step process is comprised of a salary test and a duties test.  

The salary test guideline changes have been temporarily enjoined but that does not mean that employer's should stop applying the duties test. Employers should still be accessing the exempt positions and determining if they are in fact positions that should be exempt or if the employees should be eligible for overtime.

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Tips for avoiding an awkward workplace holiday

Many of us plan to give a holiday gift to business associates this year. But there are some who are still baffled about the etiquette associated with workplace gift-giving. When done correctly, giving appropriate gifts to co-works can create a more amicable working environment.

Set rules

Mandate that all gifts be new and in their original packaging. Set a spending limit, so no one feels they spend too much or too little. Prohibit gifts that are too personal (such as clothing, bedding, etc.).

Remain secular

Religious items should be avoided when considering gifts for a coworkers. The same thing goes for items that have political overtones.

Don't insult their hygiene

Giving a bottle of cologne or perfume to a coworker at a company holiday gathering may imply that you think they smell bad. Although all of us need soap, deodorant, toothpaste, body wash and other personal hygiene products, these items are way too personal and risky to buy for a coworker. Same thing goes for makeup

Crowd pleasing gifts

For those in Secret Santa-type gift exchanges, the more neutral and universal the gift, the better. Gas cards are something everyone needs. A bag of gourmet chocolates would also be appropriate. Think of universal gifts such as holiday plants, movie tickets, coffee mugs, gift cards, which are typically well received by everyone.
Tis' the Season: Training Seasonal Employees

Seasonal employees and their managers need training as the holiday season approaches. Many companies do not focus on training seasonal employees because they are only employed for a short period. However, they should still be trained on harassment and safety issues. Managers need to be trained to ensure that companies are remaining compliant with the Fair Labor Standards Act. Training can be changed to accommodate the shortened employment cycle with condensed handbooks and online or video training. The most important thing is that the training is done and written acknowledgment from employees that they received training.

Fair Labor Standards Act is the most commonly violated law with seasonal employees. Most seasonal employees will be considered nonexempt so tracking their hours is crucial so that employees can be compensated for the hours that they work, including overtime pay. Overtime violations are common with seasonal employees because employers try to get around the FSLA. Employers try to call seasonal employees spot workers or independent contractors as a method for avoiding paying minimum wage and overtime pay. To avoid overtime violations and worker misclassification liabilities, employers should apply the same wage and hour rules to seasonal workers as they do for full-time workers.

Must You Pay Employees If Your Office Is Closed Due To Inclement Weather?

As we head into the winter months, snow and ice may present an issue for employees trying to get to work, as well as, employers and opening their office for the day. It's important for employers to know the FLSA rules when it comes to paying employees when the office is closed or when inclement weather presents an issue for employees trying to get to work.

Non-Exempt Employees:
Employers are only required to pay non-exempt employees for the hours that they actually work. This applies to when your office is open and just inaccessible for some staff or if it is closed due to inclement weather.

Exempt Employees:
If an employee works any portion of the week, they must be paid their full salary for the week - even if your office closes due to weather related problems. 

Mandating Employees Use Payroll Debit Cards Violates Pennsylvania's Wage Payment and Collection Law

The Pennsylvania Wage Payment and Collection Law (WPCL) requires that wages be paid in either the lawful money of the United States or check. The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania ruled last month that it is a violation of the law to only offer employee's wages to them via a payroll debit card. While the law does not define what constitutes as lawful money of the United States, the court deemed that mandating a debit card does not fall within those limits. The debit cards impose an activation and withdrawal fees to the employee. Some cards even charge employees for checking their balance. 


The use of a voluntary payroll debit card may be an appropriate method of offering the employee their pay, but it is against the WPCL to mandate that they use a payroll debit card. Employers are encouraged to continue offering employees with options for more traditional payroll modes at the employee's election.

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NOTICE: No Legal Advice Intended: The contents of this email are intended to convey general information only and not to provide legal advice or opinions. No action should be taken in reliance on the information contained on this email. An attorney should be contacted for advice on specific legal issues.