It is no secret that the Obama administration has made wage and hour issues key on their platform. The President’s edict to the Department of Labor to rewrite the Fair Labor Standards Act in order to expand the number of people eligible for overtime is the most recent. Announcements from the USDOL about requiring employers to justify in writing to each and every employee why they are classified the way they are and the crackdown on the use of independent contractors have been other signs. Of course the pronouncement by Obama’s first Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis that employers were thieves and she planned on correcting that because she was “the new sheriff in town.”
According to a Washington Wire article, the Labor Department budget would grow by $200 million starting October 1, 2014. Of that $200 million $40 million is headed directly to wage and hour enforcement. Approximately 300 new Wage & Hour investigators will be hired and charged with investigating overtime issues and pay issues related to the Family and Medical Leave Act.
According to the Washington Wire the Obama administration also used the budget to push for increasing the federal minimum wage. “Raising the minimum wage is good for workers, their families and for the economy,” the administration said in budget document. “The administration is ready to work with Congress to pass legislation to increase the minimum wage as soon as possible.”
A call to action
Given that wage and hour lawsuits can be very expensive, generally because some many employees are involved now it the time to make sure your house is in order. Make sure:
- All your employees are classified correctly
- You are calculating overtime correctly
- You are tracking time correctly
- You are making deductions correctly
Get help if you need it.