You may have recently read that Rite Aid is paying almost $21 million to settle multiple claims that it improperly failed to pay time-and-a-half for hours worked over forty in a week by its managers. State statutes and the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) regulate the payment of overtime wages. Careful attention needs to be paid to the so-called white collar administrative and executive exemptions, particularly in view of the increasing numbers of class action suits.

I work with employers who have questions regarding the proper classification of employees. The number one misconception that I still see is the belief that paying an employee an annual salary makes him exempt from overtime payment. Another major misconception is undue reliance on a job title or written description. It does not matter what the title of the job is or what the job description says – what matters is what the employee is actually doing. If the work that the employee performs changes, even if the job title doesn’t, the exemption status can change as well.

The Wage and Hour Division of the United States Department of Labor publishes fact sheets that are a good start in examining your particular situation. To qualify for the administrative exemption, the employee’s primary duty must be the performance of work directly related to management or general business operations of the employer and include the exercise of discretion and independent judgment. The executive exemption applies to those whose primary duty is managing a department, and who customarily and regularly direct the work of at least two full time employees or their equivalent.Continue Reading Overtime – “Managers” Exempt or Not?

The Manpower Employment Blawg post on $319 Million Fine for FedEx? highlights the enormous downside of misclassifying workers. There are many motivations to classify a worker as an independent contractor rather than an employee including payroll tax savings, benefit plan and insurance savings, increased workforce flexibility and headcount management to name a few. The test for worker

Many employers traditionally provide year end bonuses and holiday gifts for their employees. Bonuses may be included in a nonexempt employee’s regular rate depending upon the manner in which the bonus is calculated and the company’s prior communication. Inclusion in the regular rate impacts overtime calculations and payments.

Bonuses paid to nonexempt employees are included in the

Many employers struggle with business closings and delays necessitated by inclement weather. I recommend adopting a policy that addresses at least the following three areas:

Will employees be paid for the time when the business is closed?

Nonexempt employees need not be paid for time when they do not work because the business is closed. Exempt employees

  1. The Fair Labor Standards Act is Archaic.

The FLSA was enacted in 1938 with only minor amendments since then. It doesn’t fit into today’s economy. For example, Overtime is still described and viewed as a "penalty". It is designed to discourage employers from working employees for more than 40 hours per week and instead encourage them to