US Department of Labor Says Cooks & Dishwashers Can Now Participate in Certain Tip Pools

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has released guidance clarifying federal law on tip pooling. The guidance was issued in response to a federal law that amended the federal Fair Labor Standards Act’s (FLSA) tip pooling rules. The DOL guidance states that:

  1. Employers are prohibited from keeping tips received by their employees, regardless of whether the employer takes a tip credit against the minimum wage for its employees.
  2. Federal regulations no longer prohibit tip pooling when employers pay tipped employees at least the full federal minimum wage and do not claim a tip credit.
  3. Employers who pay at least the full federal minimum wage are no longer prohibited from allowing employees who are not customarily and regularly tipped—such as cooks and dishwashers—to participate in tip pools. However, managers and supervisors are prohibited from participating in tip pools.

However, employers should remember that some states have different rules concerning tip pools and tip credits. When there are differences between state and federal laws in this area, the law more favorable to the employee generally applies.

Click here to read the DOL guidance.

Originally posted by HR360.com

DOL Replaces Guidance on Employee Classification

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has withdrawn its 2014 guidance regarding the meaning and scope of the term “employment relationship” under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and replaced it with its guidance from 2008. As a result of this move, the DOL no longer advises that “most workers are employees.”

Withdrawn 2014 Guidance
In 2014, the DOL issued guidance on how to determine whether an employment or independent contractor relationship exists for purposes of the federal FLSA. The guidance stated, among other things, “Applying the FLSA’s definition [of “employ”], workers who are economically dependent on the business of the employer, regardless of skill level, are considered to be employees, and most workers are employees.” Effective immediately, this guidance has been withdrawn.

2008 Guidance Once Again Effective
The 2014 guidance has been replaced by guidance from 2008. The 2008 guidance does not contain the guidance that “most workers are employees.” However, this guidance does include the same “economic realities” test present in the 2014 guidance, under which determination of employee status is made by considering the following factors:

  • Whether the work performed is an integral part of the employer’s business.
  • Whether the worker’s managerial skill affects the worker’s opportunities for profit or loss.
  • The worker’s relative investment compared to the employer’s investment.
  • Whether work performed requires special business skills, judgment, and initiative.
  • Whether the worker-employer relationship is permanent or indefinite.
  • The nature and degree of the employer’s control of the work.
Originally posted by HR360

An updated Massachusetts Equal Pay Act (MEPA) will go into effect on July 1, 2018

In 1945, Massachusetts became the first state in the country to pass an equal pay law. But the gender pay gap persists in Massachusetts and across the country.  In Massachusetts, on average, women working full time earn only 84.3% of what men earn. The gap is even larger for some women of color.

On July 1, 2018, an updated equal pay law will go into effect in Massachusetts, providing more clarity as to what constitutes unlawful wage discrimination and adding protections to ensure greater fairness and equity in the workplace. The statute, Chapter 177 of the Acts of 2016An Act to Establish Pay Equity, amends the Massachusetts Equal Pay Act, M.G.L. c. 149, § 105A (“MEPA”).

MEPA generally provides that “No employer shall discriminate in any way on the basis of gender in the payment of wages, or pay any person in its employ a salary or wage rate less than the rates paid to its employees of a different gender for comparable work.” The law defines “comparable work” as work that requires substantially similar skill, effort, and responsibility, and is performed under similar working conditions.

MEPA permits differences in pay for comparable work only when based upon:

  1. a system that rewards seniority with the employer (provided, however, that time spent on leave due to a pregnancy-related condition and protected parental, family and medical leave, shall not reduce seniority);
  2. a merit system;
  3. a system which measures earnings by quantity or quality of production, sales, or revenue;
  4. the geographic location in which a job is performed;
  5. education, training or experience to the extent such factors are reasonably related to the particular job in question; or
  6. travel, if the travel is a regular and necessary condition of the particular job.

Importantly, MEPA makes clear that employees’ salary histories are not a defense to liability. Moreover, an intent to discriminate based on gender is not required to establish liability under the law.

Massachusetts has issued new guidance regarding its amended equal pay law. An outline of the guidance is presented below.

New Guidance 
The new guidance contains information on the following topics:

  • Covered employers and employees
  • Definitions of key terms (e.g., “comparable work” and “wages”)
  • Permissible variations in pay
  • The prohibition against restricting employees’ wage discussions
  • The prohibition against seeking salary history information
  • A checklist and guide for employers to assess compliance with the law

Click here to read the guidance. Additional resources, including a fact sheet and pay calculation tool, are also available.

NOTE ON POSTING REQUIREMENT: At this moment, the state has not required or published a poster or posting requirement.

Background 
Employers are generally prohibited from discriminating in any way based on gender in the payment of wages, or from paying a person a salary or wage rate less than the rates paid to its employees of a different gender for comparable work. However, variations in wages are generally not prohibited if based upon certain factors.

The law also generally prohibits employers from requiring that an employee refrain from inquiring about, discussing, or disclosing his or her own wages or another employee’s wages, and from seeking the wage or salary history from a prospective employee or a current or former employer.

The amended law, which takes effect July 1, 2018, contains additional details and prohibitions. Employers may also wish to view the state’s equal pay provisions that are in effect prior to July 1, 2018.

What Is My California Wage Order?

The California Industrial Welfare Commission (IWC) Wage Orders regulate wages, hours, and working conditions.  Employers must comply with the IWC Wage Order and California and Federal labor laws applicable to their business or industry.

For example, IWC Wage Order 1 applies to the manufacturing industry; Wage Order 4 applies to professional, technical, clerical, mechanical and similar occupations; Wage Order 7 applies to the mercantile industry; Wage Order 9 applies to the transportation industry; Wage Order 12 applies to the motion picture industry; Wage Order 14 applies to agricultural occupations; Wage Order 15 applies to household occupations; and Wage Order 16 applies to occupations in the construction, drilling, logging and mining industries.

Here are several things you need to know about the IWC Wage Order:

  • It is required for ALL employers in California to post a copy of the correct IWC Wage Order Poster under Labor Code 1183(d);
  • It is enforced by the California Labor Commissioner’s Office/Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE);
  • It is the number one required poster on the state’s list of required notices, listed even before the contents of our California and Federal Combination Poster;
  • It states at the very top of the California Minimum Wage notice, “Please post next to your IWC Industry or Occupation Order”.

The California Labor Commissioner’s Office, also known as the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement or DLSE, has created a pamphlet called “WHICH IWC ORDER?  Classifications” to assists employers and employees in determining which IWC Wage Order applies to a business or employee (available at http://www.dir.ca.gov/dlse/WhichIWCOrderClassifications.PDF).

Each California Wage Order covers regulations on topics such as:

  • Administrative, executive and professional exemptions;
  • Overtime wages;
  • Alternative workweeks;
  • Minimum wages;
  • Reporting time pay;
  • Records retention;
  • Cash shortage and breakage;
  • Uniforms and equipment;
  • Meals and lodging;
  • Meal periods;
  • Rest periods; and
  • Required posting of the order.

The Industrial Welfare Commission (IWC) provides 17 different California Wage Orders. However, the DLSE has not made a determination as to who is classified under the 17th Wage Order – Miscellaneous Employees. Every California employer should know the applicable Wage Order for her/his/its business and employees and the regulations regarding wages, hours and working conditions contained therein.

Here is a list of the 16 different IWC Wage Orders, excluding the one for miscellaneous employees.

(1) Manufacturing Industry (9) Transportation Industry
(2) Personal Services
(gyms, hair and nail salons, massage parlor, etc)
(10) Amusement & Recreation Industry (Amusement Parks, Bowling Alleys, Golf Courses, Ski Resorts, etc.)
(3) Canning, Freezing & Preserving Industry (11) Broadcasting Industry
(Broadcasting and Taping, TV and Radio Broadcasting)
(4) Professional, Technical, Clerical, Mechanical, and Similar Occupations
Teachers, Engineers, Real Estate Brokerage, Financial Firms, Legal Firms, Professional Firms, Travel Agencies, Non-Profit, Government Employees, etc.)
(12) Motion Picture Industry
(Film, TV, Video Production, Advertising Films, Casting, Wardrobe and Property Rental for Production, etc.)
(5) Public Housekeeping Industry (Restaurants, Hotels, Hospitals, Nursing Homes, Public Storage, Grounds and Property Maintenance, Schools with Dormitories, etc) (13) Agricultural Products for Market, On The Farm
(packing, processing, slaughtering, nut hulling/shelling/cracking, etc. when done on grower’s own land and product)
(6) Laundry, Linen Supply, Dry Cleaning and Dyeing Industry (14) Agricultural Occupations
(Field Workers, Fish Hatcheries, Wranglers, Cowboys/Cowgirls, etc.)
(7) Mercantile Industry
(purchasing, selling, or distributing goods or commodities at retail or Wholesale, or renting goods or commodities)
(15) Household Occupations
(Day Workers, Employees of private households)
(8) Industries handling products after harvest (not on the farm) (16) On-Site Construction, Mining, Drilling, Landscaping Industry

For the convenience of our valued customers, All In One Poster Company has created an all-in-one version of the California IWC Wage Order Poster, available in a 24″ x 39″ laminated poster format that can be purchased by itself, or as part of our California Packages that include a California & Federal Combination Poster.

Note: California employers must also comply with additional applicable local requirements, which might include city-specific minimum wage requirements that may be higher than the state minimum wage. All in One Posters has created this page that lists some of the major local posting requirements.

This article is intended as a guide in determining the classifications of businesses and occupations under the Industrial Welfare Commission Orders. These guidelines and classifications of employees are general in nature and the existence of specific facts and circumstances of the employment relationship and operations of a particular employer may require a different determination of proper classification that the general one set forth herein. As new types of businesses and occupations are constantly coming
into existence, there undoubtedly are businesses and occupations that have not been included on the state’s classification index. Additionally, as industry practices and business structures evolve, circumstances may dictate the change in classification of a particular occupation from one wage order to another wage order.