Wage & Hour Law Update

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) generally requires employers to pay non-exempt employees overtime pay at one and one-half times their “regular rate” of pay for all hours worked over 40 in a given workweek. The regular rate is the result of a math equation: The employee’s total compensation (with a few defined exceptions) paid by the employer during the workweek in question, divided by the total number of hours worked during that week. The…
Earlier this month, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) issued a new proposed rule that intends to raise the annual minimum salary requirements for the FLSA’s “white collar” (executive, administrative, and professional) overtime exemptions to $35,308 ($679 per week), up from the current annual minimum of $23,660 ($455 per week).  A full discussion of this and other aspects of the new proposed rule can be found here. On March 21, 2019, the proposed rule…
Rejecting the federal standard for determining whether a party has “prevailed” on his or her claim under the Massachusetts Wage Act, Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 149, §§ 148 & 150, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court has held instead that the less-stringent “catalyst” test applies. As a result, plaintiffs who received $20,500 in a settlement under the Act were entitled to an award of attorney’s fees. Ferman v. Sturgis Cleaners, Inc., 481 Mass. 488, 2019 Mass.…
The Court of Appeals of Minnesota, the state’s intermediate appellate court, has upheld a minimum wage ordinance enacted by the City of Minneapolis in 2017, providing for a higher minimum wage than that provided by state law. Graco, Inc. v. City of Minneapolis, 2019 Minn. App. LEXIS 84 (Minn. Ct. App. Mar. 4, 2019). Following its review of a socioeconomic study it commissioned in 2016 and a period of public comment, listening sessions and a…
The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has issued a new proposed rule raising the salary level requirements for the white collar exemptions.  A full article discussing the proposed rule will be published later but here is what you need to know now: The new standard salary level will be $35,308 annually ($679 per week).  This is an increase from the current level of $455 per week, but less than the now-invalid Obama-era rule, which was $913 per…
As anticipated, today Governor J.B. Pritzker signed the “Lifting Up Illinois Working Families Act,” under which the state’s minimum wage will increase to $15.00 per hour over the next six years. Under the law, the hourly minimum wage will increase to $9.25 on January 1, 2020; to $10.00 on July 1, 2020; to $11.00 on January 1, 2021; and an additional $1.00 per hour each January 1st thereafter, until reaching $15.00 on January 1, 2025. More details…
Last November, the United States Department of Labor (USDOL) issued Opinion Letter FLSA2018-27, rescinding the so-called “80/20” Tip Credit Rule, a provision that during the last decade had spawned a cottage industry of “80/20” cases.  These cases sought to dissect the duties of a server between those that allegedly generated tips and those that did not (e.g., refilling condiment bottles while waiting for customers to arrive), and to invalidate the tip credit for the period…
(Update from an earlier post) The Illinois legislature has now passed the “Lifting Up Illinois Working Families Act,” under which the state’s minimum wage will increase to $15.00 per hour over the next six years. Governor J.B. Pritzker has stated that he intends to sign the bill into law prior to his first budget speech on February 20th. Under the new law, the hourly minimum wage will increase to $9.25 on January 1, 2020; to…
Concluding that a student at a for-profit cosmetology academy was the “primary beneficiary” of the hours he spent training at the academy’s salon, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld the district’s court’s determination that the student was an intern, and not an not employee entitled to minimum wage or overtime under the FLSA or the New York Labor Law. Velarde v. GW GJ, Inc., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 3536 (2d Cir. Feb. 5,…
Following up on its recently-elected governor’s campaign pledge, the Illinois legislature has fast-tracked the “Lifting Up Illinois Working Families Act,” under which the state’s minimum wage will increase to $15.00 per hour over the next six years. First introduced on February 6th, the bill already has been passed by the state senate and likely is to be passed quickly by the state house of representatives as well. Governor J.B. Pritzker has stated that he would…