With the arrival of summer, many companies are hiring college and high school students to work as interns during summer break. Often, employers do not pay interns at all, or only pay them a stipend or other amount which is lower than the minimum wage. From an employer’s perspective, it may make good business sense not to pay the intern since they usually are not providing the same experience, skill, and expertise which regular employees provide. In addition, usually the practical experience, relationship building, and resume-padding are more valuable to the intern than any compensation.
The West Virginia Wage Payment and Collection Act is the law that governs the way employees are paid upon separation from their employment in West Virginia. That Act has been in a state of flux recently. If you are an employer, you probably know that you used to have to pay employees within 72 hours of their separation from employment, and then the statute was changed to require payment by next regular payday or 4 business days, whichever comes first. As of June 11, that law changes again.
Facing an increasing amount of wage and hour liability these days, employers are considering every feasible method to track employee time accurately. Believe it or not, that includes biometric systems. Indeed, as a replacement for traditional time card machines, biometric systems offer employers numerous benefits. Of course, they present accompanying risks and pitfalls, too.
As we have highlighted previously on this blog, employers have faced an onslaught of wage-and-hour litigation in recent years. Many of those cases have been filed as class or collective actions on behalf of hundreds and even thousands of plaintiff-employees. Most of these cases allege that employees have not been compensated for overtime hours worked as required by the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”).
Even after a record number of wage and hour cases over the last decade, new issues keep arising in this area. One of the most interesting of those questions in recent years hit the United States Supreme Court last year, when the Court tackled the question of whether or not time employees spend in anti-theft security screening at the end of their shift is compensable under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).
The West Virginia Division of Labor has withdrawn proposed emergency regulations that would have altered the wage and hour landscape for most West Virginia employers.
Just before noon on Tuesday, December 23, Acting DOL Commissioner John Junkins filed a letter with the Secretary of State withdrawing the proposed regulations “to address concerns raised by West Virginia employers about the impact of the rule.” Junkins wrote that the DOL will file an amended set of proposed regulations during the upcoming legislative session that will be submitted through the standard rulemaking process, rather than as emergency rules. “This will afford all stakeholders an adequate opportunity to communicate their concerns to the agency and resolve any confusion related to the scope and intent of the regulation,” Junkins wrote.
The proposed regulations, which the DOL had made public on November 19, conflicted with federal wage and hour rules in many important respects, as we detailed here. They were set to become effective on December 31.
The West Virginia Division of Labor (DOL) has proposed emergency regulations that, if enforced in their present form, could force nearly all West Virginia employers to change, by December 31, 2014, a number of common wage and hour practices that comply with longstanding federal regulations.
Although the DOL’s emergency rules purport to adopt vast portions of federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) regulations, they simultaneously impose several new rules that contradict or otherwise differ from those same federal regulations, particularly as they relate to the determination of what constitutes compensable working time. If applied broadly, the new rules will require West Virginia employers to depart from FLSA standards in at least the following areas:
The practice of allowing employees to work from home – telecommuting – is a growing trend. After all, today’s technology allows employees to work from almost anywhere, and telecommuting can be beneficial for both employers and employees. For employers, telecommunicating can be a less expensive alternative to traditional brick and mortar locations. Employees like telecommuting because of the flexibility it provides.
The West Virginia Legislature’s 2014 regular session concluded last month. Like in many states, the West Virginia Legislature passed a bill to increase the state minimum wage this year. In addition, following the lead of several other state legislatures, the West Virginia Legislature also passed a bill relating to pregnant employees. Both laws have significant implications for West Virginia employers.