September 2014 Newsletter
In This Issue:
- LinkedIn's $6M FLSA Settlement is a Good Lesson to Employers
- Employee Rights on Government Contracts (WH 1313 SCA Poster)
- Workers Confused by 401(k) Investments, Forgo Advice
- MD Parental Leave Law Takes Effect October 1
- Did You Know?
LinkedIn will pay nearly $6 million in back pay and liquidated damages to 359 current and former employees following a Department of Labor investigation.
The employees, reports Business Insider are commissioned inside salespeople. Typically, inside salespeople are not exempt under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), and must be paid for all hours worked over 40. LinkedIn says that the violation "was a function of not having the right tools in place for some employees and their managers to track hours properly." Likely, the company had mis-assumed that it's inside salespeople were exempt.
This story offers businesses two important lessons:
1. Do not assume that you need not pay overtime to employees who are paid other than hourly. The method of pay is not the only factor that determines whether an employee is exempt. Instead, you must undertake a fact-specific analysis for each employee's job duties to determine if it falls under one of the FLSA's narrow exceptions. Making assumptions without taking the time to do the analysis will result in costly wage-and-hour mistakes.
2. If the DOL comes knocking, cooperate. Cooperation helps demonstrate that any errors are sins of omission, not of commission. Ignorance may not excuse FLSA violations, but it will definitely put you in a better light with the DOL. And, if the error is cut and dry, pay. You gain nothing from digging in your heels to fight a clear wage-and-hour mistake, other than incurring costly legal fees.
Every employer performing work covered by the Walsh-Healey Public Contracts Act or the McNamara-O'Hara Service Contract Act (SCA) is required to post a notice of the compensation required (including, for any service contracts, any applicable wage determination) in a prominent and accessible location at the worksite where it may be seen by all employees performing on the contract.
Click here to download a copy of the poster.
If you aren't sure if you are legally required to post this poster, please contact your Client Services Specialist at 410-451-4202.
Workers say they value 401(k) plans, but most are not taking steps that could help increase their savings, according to a nationwide survey sponsored by Schwab Retirement Plan Services.
On average, plan participants spend roughly the same amount of time reviewing and choosing investments for their 401(k) as they do investigating cellphones. And participants spend more than twice as much time researching cars before buying one than they do evaluating their 401(k) options.
Most participants are still unsure exactly how their retirement benefits work. The survey showed that participants:
- Feel their 401(k) plan investment information is more confusing than their health care benefits information (50%)
- Admit they feel a lot of stress when it comes to allocating their 401(k) dollars (34%)
- Wish it were easier to choose the right 401(k) investments (59%)
But while many of the participants believe they would likely benefit from personalized advice, relatively few are actually taking advantage of this resource when it's offered. Less than one quarter of those with access to professional 401(k) advice say they have used it, the survey revealed.
In addition to using professional investment advice, workers can take other steps to get more out of their 401(k) plans – some of these positive behaviors include:
- Taking advantage of the match
- Increasing contributions
- Avoiding loans
Maryland's new Parental Leave Act (PLA), which grants unpaid leave benefits to employees working for some employers too small to be eligible for leave under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), will take effect October 1.
The PLA requires employers with 15 to 40 employees to provide unpaid parental leave benefits for the birth, adoption, or fostering of a child. Under the new law, eligible employees may take up to six weeks of unpaid parental leave in a 12 month period for the birth, adoption, or foster placement of a child.
Eligible employees are defined as employees who have worked for their employer for at least one year and for 1,250 hours in the previous 12 months. The PLA does not apply to independent contractors or individuals employed at a worksite with fewer than 15 employees if the total number of employees employed by the company within at 75-mile radius of the worksite is also fewer than 15.
Employees are to provide their employers 30 days' notice before taking parental leave. Prior notice isn't required if an employee takes leave after a premature birth, an unexpected adoption, or an unexpected foster placement.
An employer may deny unpaid parental leave to an eligible employee if the denial is necessary to prevent "substantial and grievous economic injury to the operations of the employer" and it notifies the employee of the denial before leave begins.
Tricia Stock, SPHR, HRi's Chief Operating Officer, is participating on a 5 person panel on Friday, October 3, 2014 at the Chesapeake Innovation Center in Odenton, MD. The panel discussion, titled "If You Build It, Will They Stay?", is presented by the Chesapeake Regional Tech Council.
She will be joined by Mark Milleker, CEO of Labyrinth IP; Jim Gibbons, Partner/PIM Portfolio Manager at G&M Investment Group; Andrea Maxey, CPA, Director at Watkins Meegan; and Susan Shapiro, Esq., Attorney at Council Baradel.
In this panel discussion, attendees will learn some of the common mistakes small business owners make in the realm of HR and Benefits and how to avoid them. The panelists will also engage in discussing how to offer big business benefits on a small business budget.
To register for this event, please click here.