This opinion letter overturns a former ruling, that Oklahoma employers could not require payment by direct deposit.
An Oklahoma employer may require that an employee accept payment of wages by direct deposit, under this new ruling. However, the employer cannot require that the employee use a certain bank for wage payment. The employee must be free to use a bank of his or her choice for payroll deposits.
If an Oklahoma employer had a policy allowing employees to receive (more…)
On July 24, 2008, when the federal minimum wage increased to $6.55 per hour, the Oklahoma state minimum wage increased, too. The state law for the Oklahoma minimum wage doesn’t even contain a dollar amount, but merely requires the state to match the federal minimum wage.
The increase in the federal minimum wage was the second in a series of three 70-cent increased mandated by the Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2007. The next increase in the federal minimum wage will occur on July 24, 2009, so the Oklahoma state minimum wage will increase on that date, as well.
On July 24, 2008 when the federal minimum wage increase to $6.55 per hour, the Oklahoma state minimum wage will, as well. This is the second in a series of 3 70-cent increases in the federal minimum wage introduced by the Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2007. The federal minimum wage will increase from $5.85 to $6.55 per hour.
By state statute, the Oklahoma minimum wage increases when the federal minimum wage does. In fact, according to the US Department of Labor, the Oklahoma state minimum wage statute doesn’t even contain a dollar amount. It simply adopts the federal minimum wage rate by reference.
The state minimum wage excludes (more…)
Wal-Mart’s agreement to pay the amount puts it in compliance with federal and Oklahoma Overtime laws, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. The Labor Department said the retailer used the wrong pay figures to calculate overtime in Oklahoma and throughout the U.S.
The U.S. Department of Labor says the retail giant calculated the employees’ overtime on their base pay alone, and not on their pay plus incentives and premium payments, which is called the “average hourly compensation.” Wal-Mart essentially violated the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).
The FLSA requires, first, that employees be paid 1.5 times their normal pay (called “time-and-a-half”) for any time worked over 40 hours. Second, overtime must be calculated against their “average hourly compensation,” not their base pay. In other words, if employees get $6 an hour base pay but incentives and premiums amount to an average hour pay of $7 an hour, then the overtime must be calculated according to the $7 an hour figure.
The country’s largest retailer agreed to pay all back ages for the violations between February 1, 2002 and January 19, 2007, and it has agreed to pay interest on the amount. According to the Labor Department, that should act as a deterrent.
“This settlement provides $33 million in back wages, plus interest, to Wal-Mart workers,” said Assistant Secretary of Labor for Employment Standards Victoria A. Lipnic. She added that the company “has taken corrective action to prevent this from happening again.”
A consent judgment in U.S. District Court supported the agreement that the Labor Department obtained from Wal-Mart. After the Labor Department filed a complaint, the court promptly declared that Wal-Mart must pay all of the back wages for the violations – the $33 million, in other words – and pay interest on that amount, as a deterrent to similar future violations.
Under the Oklahoma minimum wage law, there is also a special exception for tipped employees. We have seen this before in many other states in this great land, with some states allowing employers to pay their tipped employees a set amount—a tipped employee minimum wage. Some other states require that employers pay a percentage of their regular minimum wage to these tipped employees, with the assurances that the rest of the minimum wage is made up with tips.
The Oklahoma minimum wage is one of these percentage tipped employee minimum wage states. In Oklahoma, employers must pay their tipped employees at least 50 percent of the regular Oklahoma minimum wage. But in a special quirk in the Oklahoma minimum wage law is that this 50 percent also includes room and board. For instance, if an employer provides his employees a place to stay and food to eat, they can deduct this from their employees’ minimum wage payment—but no more than 50 percent of that $5.15 per hour.
When it comes to the cost of uniforms that employers give to their employees, employers can also deduct that from their minimum wage payments as well. There does not seem to be a percentage here with that—just the straight reduction of the one time cost of the uniform.
Anyways, all of these exceptions aside, what does this all mean for employers in Oklahoma—the fact that the state minimum wage has not changed and is still linked to the federal minimum wage? It means that employers in the state could be seeing an increase the amount that they must pay their employees sooner or later. Probably sooner, considering that the House and the Senate leaders in Washington DC have come up with a compromise over that minimum wage tax break package issue.