I grew up knowing I wanted to be an attorney, even though I didn’t quite know or understand what that entailed. My family always said I’d become a lawyer because of my ability to advocate for myself or others—and my ability to win every argument or debate I got myself into.
I found my niche in labor and employment law during law school. Stokes Wagner drew me in with its personalized approach to client issues. Labor and employment law creates unique opportunities to litigate on behalf of our clients and work intimately with clients. With California’s ever-evolving employment laws, I enjoy counseling clients on a more interactive basis. Working with clients, I help better their business and the lives of their employees. I most enjoy working with our diversified clients in solving and preventing day-to-day issues that arise in the hospitality industry.
When I’m not at my computer, I enjoy traveling with my family and friends, attending concerts or watching sports–usually basketball.
As spring starts to turn into summer, increases to city and state minimum wages are steadily approaching. Employers should take the time now to ensure that they are ready for minimum wage increases scheduled for July 1, 2019.
The following cities and states will see an increase in minimum wage as of July 1:
Hospitality employers in Oakland, CA, should especially be aware of the new Oakland Minimum Wage Charter Amendment passed in November 2018 that imposes new minimum wages for hotel workers within the city. As of July 1, 2019, employers covered under this ordinance must pay the following minimum hourly wage to all employees:
- $15.00/hour for employees who also receive health benefits through their employer
- $20.00/hour for employees who do not receive health benefits through their employer
The measure applies to hotels containing 50 or more guest rooms as well as to: (1) any contracted, leased, or sublet premises “connected to or operated in conjunction with” a hotel; and (2) anyone “providing services at” a hotel. This definition includes businesses not normally considered a hotel, such as a restaurant leasing space within a hotel.
Employers in cities and states with no minimum wage increase as of now should be on alert for any potential raises to come and also be aware of already scheduled increases for certain cities (including New York City, Seattle, and Oakland) to take place at the end of the year. For more information, contact your Stokes Wagner attorneys.
For a printable PDF of this article, click here.
Employers in New York City now have additional requirements for their employee lactation rooms and lactation policies.
The new laws, which went into effect March 18, 2019, expand the requirements surrounding an employer’s obligation to provide a lactation room. Lactation rooms must now be in reasonable proximity to the employee’s work site and contain a chair and a flat surface for placing pumping equipment and other personal items. In addition, the City law requires employers to provide:
• A refrigerator suitable for breast milk storage in reasonable proximity to the employees’ work area;
• An electrical outlet in the lactation room itself; and
• Nearby access to running water.
Employers who cannot comply must be able to show an undue hardship.
Employers also must have a written policy informing employees about their right to a lactation room and the process by which an employee may request lactation-related accommodations. The policy must:
• Specify how to request a lactation room;
• Require a response from the employer within five business days;
• Implement a procedure for the use of the room by multiple employees, including contact information for any follow up required;
• State that the employer shall provide reasonable break time for an employee to express breast milk consistent with NYS Labor Law section 206-c; and
• State that if the request for a lactation room poses an undue hardship on the employer, the employer shall engage in a cooperative dialogue.
The New York City Commission on Human Rights has released model policies for the City’s lactation room law available here. Employers should take steps now to ensure their work area is equipped with the required accommodations. Employers should also develop their own policy according to the guidelines detailed by the Commission and provide employees with a compliant lactation accommodation request form.
For a printable PDF of this article, click here.
March 7, 2019 • Adam L. Parry, Jamie Santos
Category: Legal Updates
More employees will now be considered non-exempt, as the U.S. Department of Labor raised the minimum salary threshold for workers to qualify for the Fair Labor Standards Act’s “white collar” exemption. In replacing an Obama administration rule, the new proposal would raise the salary threshold requirement from $23,660 to $35,308 per year. As a result, more employees will be subject to compensation for any time exceeding 40 hours in the workweek.
The replacement rule updates the FLSA’s overtime exemptions for executive, administrative and professional workers, making more than a million workers eligible for overtime pay. This also replaces a currently enjoined rule from 2016 that doubled the minimum salary threshold from $23,660 to over $47,000. It also created an index for future increases to the threshold.
The proposed rule will be subject to a 60-day public comment period after publication in the Federal Register. The DOL estimates it will then take effect in January 2020. The agency is asking for public comment as to whether the threshold should be subject to periodic automatic increases, like the Obama administration’s proposed rule.
What this means for employers: The DOL estimates that, under the new rule, more than a million workers would move from exempt to non-exempt status, qualifying them for overtime pay. Under the rule, in order to be exempt from overtime compensation, employees must now be paid at least $35,308 per year, as opposed to the previous requirement of only $23,660. Employers should thus be prepared to adjust their payroll accordingly if the proposal survives any legal challenge.
For a printable PDF of this article, 2019.3.7-DOL.Raises.FSLA.Overtime.pdf.