I remember the time that the U.S. Department of Labor showed up unannounced to the Bloggerdome.
It was yesterday. And, I’m pretty sure that the five-year-old ratted me out for paying my other three kids in Cheerios for installing a marble driveway. The driveway was a birthday gift I gave to myself.
(I turn 43 today.)
But, lesson learned. And even though this never really happened, I feel your pain, friends. I know how difficult it can be to comply with wage and hour laws.
Fortunately, the DOL plans to change to the rules to make it easier for employers to comply with the FLSA.
How? By clarifying what amounts an employer can exclude when calculating an employee’s regular rate of pay. The FLSA generally requires overtime pay of at least one and one-half times the regular rate of pay for hours worked more than 40 hours per workweek.
The DOL believes that the murkiness of the FLSA may chill some employers from offering perks to its employees. According to the DOL press release, here’s what the administrative agency plans to do about that:
The proposed rule focuses primarily on clarifying whether certain kinds of perks, benefits, or other miscellaneous items must be included in the regular rate. Because these regulations have not been updated in decades, the proposal would better define the regular rate for today’s workplace practices.
The Department proposes clarifications to the regulations to confirm that employers may exclude the following from an employee’s regular rate of pay:
- the cost of providing wellness programs, onsite specialist treatment, gym access and fitness classes, and employee discounts on retail goods and services;
- payments for unused paid leave, including paid sick leave;
- reimbursed expenses, even if not incurred “solely” for the employer’s benefit;
- reimbursed travel expenses that do not exceed the maximum travel reimbursement permitted under the Federal Travel Regulation System regulations and that satisfy other regulatory requirements;
- discretionary bonuses;
- Benefit plans, including accident, unemployment, and legal services; and
- Tuition programs, such as reimbursement programs or repayment of educational debt.
The proposed rule also includes additional clarification about other forms of compensation, including payment for meal periods, “call back” pay, and others.
The proposed rule will publish later today. You can comment on the rule at www.regulations.gov in the rulemaking docket RIN 1235-AA24 by May 28, 2019. I plan to inquire about Cheerio payments and lawfully retaliating against five-year-old tattletales. You may have other questions or comments. Either way, I’ll keep you updated on the status of the DOL proposal.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to see if the Ruby Slipper Cafe in New Orleans will deliver some Pig Candy Bacon to the Bloggerdome for my birthday.