Minimum Wage Q & As

question-mark-63979_640Q. How much is the federal minimum wage?

A. The federal minimum wage for covered nonexempt employees is currently $7.25 per hour.  Many states also have minimum wage laws.  If an employee is subject to both the state and federal minimum wage laws, the employee is entitled to the higher minimum wage rate.  Various minimum wage exceptions apply under certain circumstances.

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Wage and Hour Laws: Personal Liability Risks

The dangers involved in complying with federal and state wage-and-hour laws aren’t risks just to legal employers, usually corporations. In some instances, the risks are to individuals involved in non-compliance or violations.

Anyone whose position in the workplace involves making decisions and taking actions that affect employees can be the target of legal actions leading to personal liability – in certain situations, in certain federal court jurisdictions, and in many states.

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Hiring Tips for Employers

school-93200_1280Low unemployment rates suggest that many employers are now hiring.  According to Manpower’s latest employment outlook survey, 22 percent of companies plan to hire at least one employee in the third quarter of 2014.  Five of the most promising sectors are:

  1. Leisure and Hospitality,
  2. Wholesale and Retail Trade,
  3. Mining,
  4. Professional / Business Services, and
  5. Transportation / Utilities

But there are a few things to do before you hang out the “Now Hiring” shingle:

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Supreme Court Weighs in on ESOPs

hammer-802303_1280Employee stock option plans (ESOPs) were conceived to be a “win-win” for businesses, under the right circumstances.  The premise is, when employees have an equity stake in the company they work for, their interests will be aligned with owners because they actually become owners themselves.

Congress established tax benefits for ESOPs to help business owners overcome possible concerns about the administrative complexity involved in establishing and maintaining an ESOP.  Approximately 7,000 companies now sponsor ESOPs.  Small employers often use these plans as an exit strategy, and happily sell their company over to the ESOP and, by extension, their employees.

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FAQ: Administration’s New Contraception Rules Explained

The Obama administration has released new rules they say will give employees of religiously affiliated organizations a way to obtain contraceptive services as part of their health insurance coverage while respecting the religious beliefs of their employers.

The announcement follows a controversy that has dogged the administration as religiously affiliated employers objected to efforts to expand contraceptive options for women under the health law.  The latest regulations seek to satisfy complaints about earlier guidance on contraception coverage that instructed these employers to notify their insurers or third-party administrators if they did not want to comply with the law’s contraception coverage based on religious objections.

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Wage-Hour Laws Create Risks

100 Dollar roll tightened with red rubber band.

Federal investigators with the Labor Department’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD) routinely look for companies and organizations with illegal pay practices.

The WHD enforces the federal minimum wage, overtime pay, record-keeping, child labor and other requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act. When investigators uncover violations, employers must pay back wages, as well as penalties.

It’s a good time for employers to ensure they are in compliance with the complex Fair Labor Standards Act. Here are 14 ways employers can get tripped up by wage-and-hour violations.

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The Burden of Payroll Record Maintenance

Businessman covered with memos on white background

Paying employees means more than just issuing checks.  Your company also needs to keep accurate records for current and past employees for a certain period of time.  There are record requirements from both the IRS and the U.S. Department of Labor, which enforces employment rules for several other federal agencies.

These records include the following information: name, address, occupation, and Social Security number, as well as details of compensation such as the dates paid, tips, non-cash payments, compensation subject to withholding and payroll taxes, pay period, and fringe benefits provided to employees.  In addition, you must keep copies of all pertinent federal forms filed.

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