Can employers make partial day deductions from discretionary benefits due exempt employees?

The Fair Labor Standards Acts is a federal overtime law which may, or may not, apply to tribal employers.  If the FLSA applies to tribes, care in applying the rules to exempt (not overtime eligible employees) is a difficult and necessary aspect of compliance with an eye toward minimizing employer risk. Employers recognize that since exempt employees are not entitled to overtime compensation, the bargain is that employers must not, in most instances, reduce [...]

Should non-exempt employees be issued cell phones by their employers?

The short answer for many employers is no. No is not the only answer but it should be a consideration for managers in evaluating what appears to be a neutral or risk free business decision.  If the Fair Labor Standards Act applies (an open question), non-exempt employees shall be paid for all hours worked regardless of place or time.  Accordingly if your non-exempt workers are working off the clock, they are entitled to pay.  [...]

Meal Periods

A Fair Labor Standards Act case involving angry prison guards reminds me of a dispute in the courts regarding the correct rule to apply in determining whether employers are required to pay employees for meal periods.  Remember whether the FLSA applies to tribal employers is an open question generating an argument that it applies and the opposite argument that it does not apply.  If the FLSA applies, or if your tribe meets the requirements of [...]

Are the tribal government and casino one employer or two for overtime purposes?

Under the Fair Labor Standards Act, if an employee works 36 hours a week for the tribal government, the employer is not required to pay overtime since employers are only required to pay overtime if the employee works more than 40 hours in a workweek.  If the tribal government employee supplements her livelihood with 8 additional hours of work for the gaming enterprise, is any part of that 8 hours considered overtime? First, the [...]

Must interns be paid?

In the summer, tribal employers give interns a chance to expand their skills and understand the important work of tribal governments and enterprises.  For interns, these real life experiences may be a fair substitute for wages and the intern may agree to no pay.  But even with the intern's consent, do employers have risks in no-pay internships? The threshold question is whether the federal wage law, the Fair Labor Standards Act, applies to tribal [...]

Non-exempt and exempt: What do these terms mean and why does it matter?

In eight months the way tribal employers pay their workers will likely change because of a change in the way the law’s regulations interpret which workers must be eligible for overtime compensation (non-exempt) and which workers are not entitled (exempt).  Those employees who are eligible for overtime compensation will increase.  Statistics suggest 1 in 4 employees will move to overtime eligible so therefore this is a good time to evaluate whether your present system [...]

Under the law, are employees entitled to double time or triple time when they work on the weekend or during holidays?

No. An overview of an employer's overtime practices almost always raises a question regarding premium pay and here is the standard answer. If the Fair Labor Standards Act applies to tribal employers, non-exempt employees are entitled to overtime compensation measured at 1.5 times the employee's regular rate.  The FLSA requires the payment of overtime to non-exempt employees for all hours worked in excess of 40 hours in a work week. However, the FLSA does [...]

What is an FLSA self-audit?

Last week's newsletter addressed whether employers may deduct from discretionary leave banks (PTO) for the partial day absences of exempt employees.  To continue that conversation, this week's newsletter provides a self-audit tool to evaluate whether an employee is exempt. Remember, the designation of an exempt employee starts with the presumption that the employee is not exempt.  The law presumes that employees are entitled to overtime compensation and to overcome that legal presumption, the employer [...]