Wages, Hours and Problems: Avoiding Workplace Headaches
CHAMPS recently hosted a Lunch and Learn with member and local Attorney Jim Loots. Jim spoke with us on the topic of Wages, Hours and Problems: Avoiding Workplace Headaches. Here’s the top takeaways.
- The Obama Administration rule that would have allowed salaried workers making under $47,476 (current figure is $23,660) to earn overtime has been held in the courts and is likely dead indefinately. Which leaves us with the current wage laws last updated about a decade ago. And prior to that wage laws last saw a major overhaul in the 1940s which would lead one to believe you are safe to get to know the current laws very, very well.
- All employees are assumed hourly unless you can properly categorize for exemptions. Employees who are paid less than $23,600 are non-exempt. Exemptions are applicable for administrative employees, professional employees, and amanagerial employees all withstanding the duties test. For more information on the Fair Labor Standard Act visit the Wage and Hour Division at the US Department of Labor.
- Minimum wage in the District of Columbia is currently $11.50/hour. According to Jim Loots, the minimum wage will increase to $12.50/hour on July 1, 2017 and will increase again to $13.75/hour on July 1, 2018. This Washington Post article from June 2016 outlines the longterm increase to $15/hour by 2020 as well as differences for tipped workers. The federal minimum wage (currently $7.75) continues to apply for workers under age 18.
- Recommended that all employers create and distribute an employee handbook which helps define and avoid potential liability.
- Employers should require verification from employee of the number of hours worked per week.
- DC Businesses are required to have a DOES – DC New Hire form on file for all current employees. If you do one thing today DO THIS!
- Jim shared some key points on how to pay your employees properly. Employees must be paid every two weeks. You decide your standard work week and stick to it (i.e. Wed-Wed). Compensation must be in line with this standard work week so if hourly employee is gauranteed 1 day off in every work week it really is 1 day in every 7 (not for example bulking in 9 consecutive days then receiving 2 off). CHAMPS recommends businesses consult with a lawyer to review topics including what you can deduct from employee pay, what benefits or earned leave applies, and mandatory sick leave.
- Jim touched on a variety of all issues including correctly labeling an Independent Contractor, what to do at time of termination, DC Wage Theft Prevention Forms, and more.
- And as always we took a few minutes to enjoy our delicious lunch at Joselito Casa de Comida while sharing wage stories amongst those gathered. CHAMPS Lunch and Learns provide a great meal, informative topics, and an easy going atmosphere to network with fellow CHAMPS members and guests.