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Wage and Hour Archives

DOL Rolls Out Proposed Overtime Revisions

In May 2016, the Department of Labor issued its controversial revisions to the white collar exemptions of the overtime regulations, more than doubling the minimum salary required for exemption; going from $455/wk. ($23,680/yr.) to $913/wk. ($47,476/yr.). A court in Texas subsequently found the rule invalid, and employers have been awaiting the Trump administration's position on the issue ever since. The wait is now over, at least at the moment.

Illinois Legislature Fast-Tracks Minimum Wage

Certainly the beginning of the Legislative Session in the State of Illinois during calendar 2019 is attempting to move quickly on the campaign promises of J.B. Pritzker. As everyone will recall, the recently elected Governor's campaign pledge to increase the state's minimum wage has been fast-tracked with the passing, by the Illinois Senate of the "Lifting Up Illinois Working Family's Act" and sending the bill to the State House of Representatives. The Illinois House of Representatives passed the bill on Valentine's Day, February 14, 2019, by a vote of 69-47-1. The bill was signed with extensive media coverage by Governor Pritzker on February 19, 2019.

Breaking News: Minimum Wage in Illinois set to Increase to $15 by 2025

Last week we reported that a new Illinois Minimum Wage law is all but certain to pass before the end of February. A $15 per hour minimum wage bill was introduced and had the support of newly elected governor J.B. Pritzker.

Patchwork of Illinois Minimum Wage Laws

Media outlets are reporting that a new Illinois Minimum Wage law is all but certain to pass before the end of February. A $15 per hour minimum wage bill has been introduced and has the support of newly elected governor J.B. Pritzker. Minimum wage laws can be monumentally confusing. The usual principle is supremacy of federal law. The federal law calls for a $7.25 minimum wage. However, the federal Fair Labor Standards Act has a specific provision that more employee-friendly laws by state or local governments will trump federal law. That is why such a confusing patchwork has been created. Below is a bare-bones summary.

City of Chicago - Office for Labor Standards

As of October 31, 2018, the Chicago City Council unanimously approved the formation of the Office for Labor Standards (OLS). The OLS has been created to provide more rigorous enforcement of the City of Chicago Employment Ordinances and to promote investigation into alleged violations. This Law will come into effect as of January 1, 2019.

Illinois Equal Pay Act

The Illinois House of Representatives and Illinois Senate recently voted to override outgoing Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner's veto of proposed changes to the Illinois Equal Pay Act. This means that Employers in the State of Illinois, effective January 1, 2019, will be required to comply with a new set of Pay Equity obligations.

DOL Issues Six New Opinion Letters

On August 28, 2018, the Department of Labor, Wage and Hour Division, issued six new opinion letters on issues under the Fair Labor Standards Act and Family Medical Leave Act. They are summarized below:

Recent Court Ruling On Equal Pay Suggests That Salary History Questions May Be Off Limits In Job Interviews

Asking job applicants how much they make with their current employer, or what they've been paid in prior positions, are common questions in job interviews for many hiring employers. While questions on salary history generally are not per se unlawful - yet - they can land an employer in hot water. The legal theory against salary questions in onboarding is based on the Equal Pay Act of 1963 and its state law counterparts. These laws make it unlawful for an employer to pay women less than men for doing the same work. However, despite more than 50 years since the Equal Pay Act became law, there are growing concerns that women continue to be paid less than men. If true, basing job offers on a woman's salary history could serve to perpetuate gender-based disparities in pay. This was the rationale in a recent decision issued by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, in California, which held that setting initial pay of new hires based on their salary history cannot serve as a defense to an Equal Pay claim. This decision conflicts with a 1995 opinion of the U.S. Court of Appeals of the Seventh Circuit, in Chicago, which held that salary history is a "factor other than sex" that may provide a defense to claims challenging pay differences based on gender. A showdown before the U.S. Supreme Court now seems likely. Additionally, emerging laws and administrative requirements aimed at "closing the pay gap" and/or "breaking the glass ceiling" are ushering in significant change. Employers who fail to stay ahead of this trend risk trouble down the road.

DOL Rolls Out Voluntary Self-Audit Program (PAID)

On April 3, 2018 the Department of Labor implemented a new pilot program, in effect for the next six months, under which employers may correct inadvertent minimum wage and overtime violations without the imposition of penalties or liquidated damages (employers must still pay 100% of any back wages owed). Under the new program - Payroll Audit Independent Determination (PAID), employers are encouraged to conduct self-audits, and if they discover any violations, to report them to the Wage and Hour Division, which will work with the employer and affected employees to correct them.

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