2019 Minimum Wage Increases

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Russell Jackson

With the November election results (finally) in the rear view, businesses should be prepared to comply with upcoming minimum wage increase obligations, including increases resulting from the election.  Specifically, companies with operations in Arkansas and Missouri must be aware that in the recent election, voters chose to increase their state minimum wage rates as of January 1, 2019.  Arkansas increased its minimum wage from $8.50/hour to $9.25/hour on January 1, 2019 and will increase the rate to $11.00/hour by January 1, 2021.  Missouri voters approved an increase from $7.85/hour to $8.60/hour on January 1, 2019 and to $12.00/hour over the next five years.  Continue reading

U.S. Department of Labor Forms FLSA Outreach Office

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Mike Bayonne

U.S. Secretary of Labor, Alexander Acosta, recently formed the U.S. Department of Labor’s (“DOL”) new Office of Compliance Initiatives (“OCI”).  The stated purpose of the OCI, according to the DOL’s website, is in part to “promote greater understanding of federal labor laws and regulations, allowing job creators to prevent violations and protect Americans’ wages, workplace safety and health, retirement security, and other rights and benefits.”  To this end, the OCI focuses on education to ensure compliance with the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”).  Continue reading

Out With The Old; In With The Original: DOL Re-issues 2009 Tip Credit Guidance

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Louis Britt

On November 8, 2018, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) re-issued an opinion letter abandoning the “80/20 Rule,” which prohibited employers from taking a tip credit if a tipped employee spent more than 20% of his or her working time on non-tipped work.

The opinion letter is a re-issuance of one previously published on January 16, 2009 by the Bush administration.  The letter, however, was withdrawn once President Obama took office. The DOL’s new guidance provides restaurant and hospitality employers with clarity and a more practical approach defining when a tip credit can be taken. Continue reading

Austin’s Third Court of Appeals Holds Austin’s Paid Sick Leave Ordinance Unconstitutional

Austin’s paid sick leave ordinance, which was supposed to go into effect this past October, has been held unconstitutional by the Third Court of Appeals in Austin. The court of appeals held that the ordinance establishes a “wage” and, as such, it is preempted by Texas Minimum Wage Act. The Texas Minimum Wage Act specifically precludes municipalities from regulating the wages paid by employers who are subject to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and specifically provides that the Texas Minimum Wage Act supersedes a “wage” established in an ordinance governing wages in private employment. The court of appeals remanded the case back to the district court, instructing the lower court to grant the State’s application for temporary injunction and for further proceedings consistent with its ruling. Continue reading

Depositing Funds to Moot Wage and Hour Claims

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Jeffrey Douglas

While wage and hour class and collective actions continue to prove costly for employers, defense counsel have tinkered with different creative methods to attempt to preemptively moot an individual plaintiff’s claims prior to the conditional certification of a collective or class action.  Although courts are currently split on the viability of such tactics, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals (“Second Circuit”) has left the door open for defendants to attempt a preemptive strike. Continue reading

More Green is Coming to Workers in Two Red States

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Angela Cummings

As everyone knows, an historic midterm election occurred this week. Early projections from The New York Times estimate that more than 114 million ballots were case this year, which presents an increase of almost 30 million votes from the 2014 midterms. The big take-aways include the Democrats retaking control of the House and the Republicans retaining their majority in the Senate. Also, a record number of female candidates (more than 250) and people of color (almost 200) ran for office in this election, with many of these candidates throwing their hats in the ring for the very first time. Not surprisingly, health care, immigration and the economy were at the top of the list for voters during exit poll interviews. Continue reading