In Massachusetts, a commission is a wage subject to the Wage Act when the amount of the commission “has been definitely determined and has become due and payable.” Accordingly, an employer’s failure to pay a commission which had not yet become due and payable generally does not implicate the Wage Act, and employers cannot be held liable for treble damages stemming from the failure to pay such a future commission.… More
Category Archives: Wage & Hour
Last week, the United States Department of Labor (“DOL”) announced a rule clarifying the types of compensation that should be included when determining an employee’s “regular rate” of pay for the purpose of calculating overtime pay under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”). The new rule permits employers to exclude certain fringe benefits provided to employees when calculating the employee’s regular rate of pay. The rule is the first update to the relevant regulations in half a century,… More
On September 24, 2019, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) unveiled the final version of its new overtime salary basis rule. The new rule increases the minimum salary threshold for salary-based overtime exemptions from $455 per week (or $23,600 annually) to $684 per week (or $35,568 annually). In addition to increasing the salary basis for administrative, executive and professional employees, the new rule allows employers to use nondiscretionary bonuses and incentive payments (such as commissions) to satisfy up to 10 percent of the salary basis level,… More
As we reported in previous alerts (April 26, 2019 and May 9, 2019), all employers with 100 or more employees must submit employee pay data for 2017 and 2018 to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) on an updated Employer Information Report Form (EEO-1) by September 30, 2019. However, this may end up being a one-time requirement. On September 12, 2019, the EEOC announced that it will not be requiring EEO-1 filers to submit pay data for 2019,… More
On June 11, 2019, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker, Senate President Karen Spilka, and House Speaker Robert DeLeo announced that they agreed to delay the required contributions to the Massachusetts Paid Family and Medical Leave (PFML) program by three months. This agreement will not be official until the Legislature passes and the Governor signs an emergency bill putting it on the books. If passed, the bill will extend the date when employers need to begin collecting payroll deductions and contributions from July 1,… More
As mentioned in our most recent alert on the recently revived EEOC pay data rule (available here), the EEOC has been considering whether, in addition to collecting pay data for 2018 under its new pay data collection rule, to collect pay data for 2017 or for 2019. This week, the EEOC chose to collect 2017 data. That means that employers with 100 or more employees now must submit both 2017 and 2018 pay data to the EEOC by September 30,… More
On April 25, 2019, a federal judge in Washington, D.C. set a September 30, 2019 deadline for employers to begin complying with the U.S. Equal Opportunity Commission’s (EEOC) recently revived pay data collection rule. Accordingly, employers with 100 or more employees – more than 60,000 employers – must submit 2018 pay data to the EEOC by September 30, 2019.
Less than a month after proposing an increase to the salary threshold for certain overtime exemptions (see our previous client alert), the U.S. Department of Labor (“DOL”) has announced another possible rule change impacting the way employers pay employees overtime. This new proposed rule would update, for the first time in more than 50 years, rules regarding the types of employee compensation that must be included when calculating an employee’s “regular rate” under the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”).… More
On March 7, 2019, after more than two years of speculation, the U.S. Department of Labor (“DOL”) finally proposed its new overtime rule. Under the proposed rule, the minimum salary a worker would have to be paid to qualify for the executive, administrative and professional exemptions would increase from $26,660 (or $455 per week) to $35,308 (or $679 per week). The DOL estimates that 1.1 million more employees will be eligible for overtime under the proposed rule.… More
On June 27, 2018, in a 5-4 decision in Janus v. AFSCME, the United States Supreme Court overruled longstanding precedent and held that public employees who are not members of a union elected to be their collective bargaining agent could not be required to pay so-called “agency fees” to that union. The decision is expected to have significant impact on organized labor, which relies on such fees to fund their activities.… More
Since the 1950s, the U.S. Supreme Court has taken the view that the exemptions to the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”), which exempt employees from the FLSA’s minimum wage and overtime requirements, should be interpreted narrowly. In its April 2, 2018 decision in Encino Motorcars v. Navarro, however, the Supreme Court reversed course and rejected this principle. As a result, the decision allows courts to give broader interpretations to the FLSA exemptions,… More
The Massachusetts Attorney General (the “AG”) recently released her long-awaited guidance regarding the 2016 overhaul of the Massachusetts Equal Pay Act (the “Act”), which takes effect on July 1, 2018. (For a summary of the Act’s key provisions, click here.) The Act, which, among other things, prohibits employers from paying employees of different genders differently for comparable work, has left employers with many questions as to how its provisions would be interpreted and enforced.… More
On January 29, 2018, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court (SJC) held that accrued, unused sick time does not qualify as “wages” under the Massachusetts Wage Act. As a result, employees cannot maintain Wage Act claims against their employers based on the failure to pay employees for unused sick time.
The Massachusetts Earned Sick Time law does not require that employers pay employees for their accrued,… More
On Tuesday, August 29, 2017, the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) initiated a review of the EEOC’s pay data collection rule. As a result, the EEOC’s collection of pay data, which was to have begun on March 31, 2018, has been stayed indefinitely.
The EEOC adopted the pay data collection rule in September 2016. Under the rule, employers with 100 or more employees would be required to report employee pay data to the EEOC annually on updated Employer Information Report forms (EEO-1s),… More
Last week, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court (“SJC”) resolved a contested issue under the Massachusetts Wage Act, ruling that successful Wage Act plaintiffs are entitled to prejudgment interest on the unpaid wages and other benefits they are awarded. However, the SJC held that employees cannot recover interest on the liquidated damages they are awarded for Wage Act violations.
The SJC’s decision in George, et al.… More
Beginning on October 31, 2017, questions about a job applicant’s previous compensation, and an employer’s reliance on that information in determining an applicant’s compensation, will constitute unlawful discrimination under the New York City Human Rights Law.… More
Within the next week, President Trump is expected to issue another Executive Order (“EO”) concerning high-skilled workers and foreign students, most likely to be titled “Protecting American Jobs and Workers by Strengthening the Integrity of Foreign Workers Visa Programs.” Unlike the EO that was signed last Friday, which imposed an immediate travel ban on foreign nationals from seven countries, it appears that this new EO is not expected to immediately terminate any individual’s work authorization or visa status,… More
A reminder for Massachusetts employers: effective January 1, 2017, the minimum wage in Massachusetts is increasing from $10.00 to $11.00 per hour.
The minimum rate for tipped service employees is also increasing, from $3.35 to $3.75 per hour. This “service rate” only applies to workers who provide services to customers and regularly receive more than $20 in tips per month. Additionally, their average hourly tips plus the minimum service rate must equal or exceed the $11.00 per hour minimum wage. … More
On November 22, 2016, a federal judge in Texas issued a nationwide injunction preventing the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) from implementing its new overtime rule. The rule – which would have raised the salary threshold below which employees must be paid overtime to $47,476/year – was scheduled to go into effect on December 1, 2016. (The firm’s previous client alert on the rule can be found here.) As a result,… More
On August 1, 2016, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker signed the Pay Equity Act (the “Act”) into law. The Act, which goes into effect on January 1, 2018, is designed to close the wage gap between men and women. Although Massachusetts already had a pay parity law that prohibits wage discrimination, the Act provides greater clarity on what constitutes unlawful pay discrimination and imposes new rules and restrictions on employers.… More
The past year has been busy in the labor and employment law field. Foley Hoag recently presented a webinar detailing the latest legal developments.
Watch the recording:
Topics discussed include:
- Upcoming changes to the overtime regulations
- The expansion of the “joint employer” doctrine
- The increasingly aggressive EEOC
- Legislative initiatives to change non-compete law
- Pay equity laws
- Current issues in immigration laws
A reminder for Massachusetts employers: effective tomorrow, January 1, 2016, the minimum wage in Massachusetts is increasing from $9.00 to $10.00 per hour.
The minimum rate for tipped service employees is also increasing, from $3.00 to $3.35 per hour. However, employers may only rely on this lesser minimum rate for service employees if they regularly receive more than $20 in tips per month and their average hourly tips plus the minimum service rate equals or exceeds the $10.00 per hour minimum wage.… More
Thank you for reading the inaugural post of the Massachusetts Labor and Employment blog. Our goal is to create a forum for informal discussion regarding the latest legal trends and issues facing employers operating in Massachusetts. We are blessed to live and work in the Commonwealth, but we also recognize that running a business in Massachusetts creates a unique set of legal challenges. We hope to talk about these challenges in a practical way and to help employers navigate them.… More