During inclement weather, many offices and businesses will close early. While last week’s post examined payment when the business is closed or remains open all day, different rules apply when the employer opts to close the workplace early.
Many states have reporting pay laws that guarantee an employee payment for a minimum number of hours when the employee reports for a scheduled shift. In those states, even if the employee works only 5 minutes, or reports to work but does no work at all, the employee is entitled to a minimum payment.
Laws vary from state to state, but many times reporting pay is not required if the employer made a good-faith effort to inform the employee in advance that the business would be closed or that the employee’s schedule has been changed. Many states also exempt employers from reporting time pay when a business is closed due to an act of God, as when a tornado or flood destroys the building.
According to SHRM, the Society for Human Resource Management, seven states plus the District of Columbia have reporting time pay laws that affect adults: California, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Hampshire, New York, New Jersey and Rhode Island. Oregon has a reporting time pay that applies to minors only.
A brief summary of reporting time pay laws by state: (more…)
The new California guidelines for unpaid interns match the federal guidelines under the FLSA, the Fair Labor Standards Act. Previously, the state of California imposed 5 additional criteria for interns. Employers had to meet all 11 criteria in order for a worker in California to be considered an unpaid intern.
The DLSE announced in an opinion letter issued April 7, 2010 that it will revert to the federal criteria for establishing the status of unpaid intern under California labor laws, including the state minimum wage and overtime laws. The opinion letter was issued to attorney Joseph Ambash in response to his query regarding the educational program Year Up!, a program to (more…)
The California Labor Agency recently issued an opinion allowing employers to reduce an exempt employee’s salary and hours worked, at the same time, without endangering the worker’s status as a salaried exempt employee.
In the example used, the state labor agency permitted an employer faced with economic difficulties to reduce the work schedule of exempt employees from five days to four days. The state DLSE or Department of Labor Standards Enforcement ruled in a recent opinion letter that simultaneously reducing the employee’s salary by 20% “did not violate the ‘salary basis’ for the workers’ overtime exemption under the state Labor code and wage orders” as long as the employer’s action is a temporary measure.
This is a radical change, since the DLSE took the opposite position in 2002. In an opinion letter issued in that year, the California agency ruled that the employer could reduce an employee’s salary. However, if the employee’s work hours were also reduced, that change the employee from exempt to non-exempt status.
In a recent California case involving Southern California Cleaning Service, a federal judge ordered the company to pay an additional penalty of $2,400 per day, for each day that the payment is delayed.
Even worse, the court also found the two owners of the company in contempt, and ordered them each to pay an additional $200 per day penalty. Further violations could result in them being jailed for contempt of court.
Both the fines will continue on a daily basis until the employees are paid in full.
In addition, the company was ordered to pay $227,701 in interest – 4.4% — on unpaid back wages of almost $3.5 million, plus $1 million in liquidated damages to workers.
The company’s troubles began in 2007 when the U.S. Department of Labor won a lawsuit against the southern California employer.
With the current economic crisis, many employers are considering giving workers additional unpaid time off during the holidays. This includes giving workers Friday, November 28 (the day after Thanksgiving) and/or Friday, December 26 (the day after Christmas) off without pay.
Other employers are considering closing for an entire week between Christmas and New Years.