Category: Employment Law

January 4, 2017 Posted By Patricia Kakalec

Minimum wage increases in New York State

The new year brings a higher minimum wage rate for New York State workers, as the minimum wage increased for workers statewide on December 31, 2016.    One big change is that the generally-applicable minimum wage rate now varies depending upon an employer’s size and an employee’s work location.   In addition, the higher minimum wage rate for workers at fast food chains with 30 or more locations (which could include locations outside of New York State) increased again on December 31st.

The new rates are as follows:

Fast food:

  • Fast food workers in New York City: $12 per hour
  • Fast food workers in other parts of the state: $10.50

Other industries:

  • Employees of New York City large employers (11 or more employees): $11 per hour
  • Employees of New York City small employers (10 or fewer employees): $10.50 per hour
  • Employees in Westchester & on Long Island: $10 per hour
  • Employees in the rest of New York State (“upstate”): $9.70 per hour

A few things to note:

  • For determining the size of a New York City employer, employees both inside and outside of New York City (during the prior or current calendar year) are counted.  But the New York City wage rate only applies to employees working in New York City.
  • All of the wage rates above depend on where an employee works, not where an employer is located.
  • If an employee works in multiple regions (say, New York City and Rockland County), an employer will comply with the law by either paying the higher rate for all work (in this example, New York City), or by paying the applicable minimum wage rate for each region for all work done in that region (for example, New York City rate for all hours worked in New York City, and the upstate rate for work done upstate).

Have questions about the new minimum wage law?   Give us a call at (212) 500-6114, or email Tricia Kakalec at pkakalec@kakalec-schlanger.com.

December 19, 2016 Posted By Patricia Kakalec

DOL Overtime Rules Enjoined

On November 22, 2016, a district judge in the Eastern District of Texas in the case State of Nevada v. U.S. Department of Labor (16-CV-731) issued an injunction against the implementation of U.S. Department of Labor (“DOL”) regulations related to eligibility for overtime pay for those who might be subject to the executive, administrative, and professional exemptions under the Fair Labor Standards Act.   Then new regulations, which were to go into effect on December 1, 2016, would have increased the salary threshold for exemption from overtime from $23,665 to $47,476, and also provided for automatic future increases.

In issuing its injunction, the district court held that the DOL “exceed[ed] its delegated authority and ignor[ed] Congress’s intent” by creating a “de-factor salary only test” for overtime eligibility.   The injunction means that the rule did not go into effect, and the salaries of employees around the country were effected.

Workers’ rights groups and others argue that the decision was both wrongly decided and problematic as a matter of public policy.   Christine Owen, the Executive Director of the National Employment Labor Project says that “[s]upporters of the rule are considering a range of legal strategies, and it’s premature to speculate about the course they’ll pursue if an appeal is filed. We believe the judge’s analysis and decision are deeply flawed and should be reversed on appeal.”    The DOL, which says it “strongly disagrees with the decision,” has filed a notice of appeal, although it is not clear that the incoming administration will continue with the appeal.

Despite this decision, some employers have gone ahead and implemented planned changes and salary increases.   For example, Pennsylvania-based, Sheetz, Inc. – which operates gas stations and convenience stores/quick service restaurants – announced its plans to continue with planned wage increases, stating that its decision “represents our constant efforts toward attracting and retaining the best talent and being a great place to work.  It is a commitment that reaches beyond compensation, to the offering of excellent benefits and a great balance between work and family.”

UPDATE:   On January 3, 2017, the Texas court denied the USDOL’s motion to stay the decision pending appeal.

Stay tuned for further developments on the case.

May 31, 2016 Posted By Patricia Kakalec

Are You an Employee or an Independent Contractor?

Getting paid with a 1099?

Sign an agreement that says you are an “independent contractor” in your workplace?

Even if you did both of these things, you may actually be an employee – and not an independent contractor – of the company that you work for. You may be one of many workers around the country who are “misclassified” as independent contractors when they are really employees.

Misclassification of workers is an on-going problem in the modern workplace. According to studies cited by the Economic Policy Institute, between 10 and 20 percent of employers misclassify at least one worker as an independent contractor.

Continue Reading