USDOL has finally clarified the so-called “20% Rule” limiting the use of the FLSA tip credit even with respect to individuals qualifying as “tipped employees”.
The USDOL recently announced that it will continue its Payroll Audit Independent Determination (PAID) program, and wasted no time beginning its efforts to further educate employers and attorneys about the benefits of the program.
In an opinion illustrating the tangled web we weave when de-facto legislation takes place outside of Congress, the Ninth Circuit in Marsh v. J. Alexander's gave deference to the USDOL's sub-regulatory "20% Rule", restricting an FLSA tipped employee's activities, essentially on the basis that the agency's position was previously available online and that employers were therefore presumed to have notice of its potential effect.
The first of several USDOL "listening" sessions provided few answers. The primary question remains whether the agency will listen this time around as it takes on the FLSA's white-collar exemptions.
After 80 years with the USDOL, the FLSA needs a shakeup. The problem is that, even as we anxiously await proposed regulations from the current agency and contemplate how things might be under a potential new one, it’s the 80-year-old law that needs change, and not just because it is outdated.
Before forging ahead with summer hires, employers should carefully evaluate state law restrictions to determine whether they overlap and/or supplement the FLSA and, either way, how they apply depending on a multitude of factors that can go well-beyond just the minor’s age.
Hiring minors can be daunting in any state given the FLSA's child labor restrictions that vary depending on the individual's age, the work contemplated, and even the local public school's schedule.
From FLSA enforcement programs to compliance resources, the USDOL has stepped up and provided timely guidance that ultimately can benefit everyone, if employers understand what the various materials do and do not say.
USDOL's Payroll Audit Independent Determination (PAID) pilot program is meant to provide employers with the framework to proactively resolve potential FLSA claims. Nonetheless, on the whole, it seems that the benefits and risks are not particularly distinguishable from an investigation.
Whether the FLSA effectively prohibits an employer from imposing certain costs (such as for purchasing a uniform) on an employee depends on a variety of factors, including whether it is cost-prohibitive in the particular circumstances.