In 2016, the U.S. Department of Labor proposed to change part of how employees are classified as exempt under the Fair Labor Standards Act. Exempt basically means exempt from the overtime premium rate required by the FLSA, and employees are generally exempt only if they meet a specific exemption defined in the law. Executives, learned professionals, certain administrators, creative professionals and computer workers, and inside salespeople are typically exempt.
When it comes to the "gig economy," one of the more controversial issues is how Uber, Lyft, Amazon and other companies save money by classifying their workers as independent contractors rather than employees. Contract workers aren't eligible for many standard workplace benefits and protections, such as employer-paid payroll taxes, access to workers' compensation and unemployment insurance, and the right to be paid the overtime premium rate. They're not even guaranteed the minimum wage.
Using contract labor to perform core business functions is still controversial, even as companies like Uber, Grubhub and Amazon take advantage of this "gig economy" business model. Traditionally, employers have been required to provide at least some benefits, such as workers' compensation, unemployment insurance and payroll tax payments. Contractors receive none of these and are not protected by some labor laws.
With the rise of the "gig economy," new companies have sometimes opted to classify their workers as independent contractors vs. employees. This immediately cuts their overhead, as contractors are not eligible for overtime or many job-based benefits like workers' compensation and unemployment insurance. They are responsible for paying 100 percent of their payroll taxes, while employees receive half paid by their employer. Hiring independent contractors can save a lot of money for the company by shifting the cost of even basic benefits to the worker.
At the start of this year, Florida’s minimum wage rose to $8.25 per hour—a full $1 above the federal minimum wage. While this may be good news for many people in the workforce, there are some exceptions to the rule. As a young person, you may get the short end of the stick when it comes to compensation.
A man who worked as one of Donald Trump's personal chauffeurs for more than 20 years has filed suit against the Trump Organization and associated companies claiming that he was never paid for overtime hours as required by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and applicable state law. He also says the organization stiffed him on unused sick and vacation pay.
“We were harassed, we were bullied and we were body-shamed for $7.25 an hour,” a former Houston Texans cheerleader told reporters.
Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court made a ruling in one of the longest debated cases of the session. In a 5:4 decision, the Court ruled that an employer may prevent its employees from joining in a class action lawsuit against the employer. Under the terms of many employment contracts, this decision prevents a vulnerable employee from pursuing litigation altogether--forcing them instead to resolve disputes through arbitration.
In what many employee advocates see as a blow to workers and the employment laws that protect them, the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that employers may require mandatory arbitration clauses in employment contracts. The 5-4 ruling makes it more likely that companies will require these clauses, which typically prohibit employees from banding together to bring class action lawsuits.
When it comes to your paycheck, state laws govern how often your company has to pay you. Obviously this means that from state to state, the rules are going to be different. Some states have specific laws that others won't follow. But, in general, companies are supposed to give their employees weekly, biweekly, semiweekly, or monthly paychecks.