New Minimum Wage Law in Iowa

Iowa enacted a new law, Iowa House File 295, that prohibits counties and cities from regulating certain employment matters that are regulated by the state. On a practical level, for employers, this will reduce some compliance burdens, including eliminating different minimum wage rates across the state. The law, which took effect on March 30, 2017, preempts city and county rules pertaining to minimum wage, employment leave, hiring practices, employee benefits, and similar matters that pertain to terms of employment. For example, Johnson County, Iowa, had a minimum wage of $10.10 an hour, but that has preempted with the new state law, which means the minimum wage in Johnson County is now $7.25 an hour. Now, regardless of the action taken by county or city government, including actions taken prior to the new Iowa law, the state law will preempt and govern practices by employers.

© 2017 Vandenack Weaver LLC
For more information, Contact Us

Employers in Nebraska and Iowa Should be Aware of Changes in Pay Discrimination Lawsuits

A recent court case, stemming from an Iowa employer, may have a significant impact on how employers throughout Nebraska and Iowa view pay differential between employees. On April 3, 2017, the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in Dindinger v. Allsteel, Inc., a case pertaining to gender based pay discrimination. In the ruling, the Court suggested that market forces and economic conditions, often used as an affirmative defense in pay discrimination claims, may not be sufficient as a defense without a clear connection. The result is that an employer may not be able to assert that economic conditions are the reason for pay differential between men and women without being able to show how the economic conditions caused the pay differential for the specific employees in question.

 

This case stems from an Iowa furniture manufacturer, where three female employees claimed gender based pay discrimination. As an affirmative defense, the business argued that market forces and economic conditions were the reason for the pay differential, not gender discrimination. This affirmative defense is often raised by employers and, generally, does not require a specific correlation between the economic condition and the employee. However, the Court in this case noted that to successfully argue the “factor other than sex” defense, the business must show how economic conditions directly resulted in the pay differential. For employers in the Court’s jurisdiction, including those in Nebraska and Iowa, an increased burden may exist when asserting the market forces affirmative defense and could necessitate taking action before any potential pay discrimination claims arise.

 

Employers should recognize the added challenge of defending pay discrimination lawsuits and, potentially, take preemptive action by auditing current pay and employment practices. A copy of the opinion can be found at the following link:  http://media.ca8.uscourts.gov/opndir/17/04/161305P.pdf

© 2017 Vandenack Weaver LLC
For more information, Contact Us

The Saga Continues: The DOL Appeals the Court’s Ruling Halting The New Overtime Rules

In the latest chapter in the ongoing saga of the newly revised (and currently halted) overtime rules, on December 1, the Department of Labor appealed the lower court’s ruling to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.

As we previously reported, last week Judge Amos Mazzant issued a temporary injunction stopping the implementation of the revised overtime rules scheduled to go into effect on December 1.  The appeal by the Department of Labor challenges that ruling.

Judge Mazant’s temporary injunction remains in place for now until the Court of Appeals rules on the appeal.  The Court of Appeals’ ruling will likely not come until 2017.  Of course, no matter what the Court of Appeals decides, one of the parties may appeal that ruling to the Supreme Court further prolonging a final resolution of the issue.

However, President-elect Trump has signaled that he is not in favor of the new rule; therefore, the new administration may have little interest in continuing to pursue the matter after he takes office.

The bottom line is, for now, the temporary injunction halting the implementation of the new overtime regulations continues unless and until the higher court rules otherwise.

We will continue to monitor the situation and keep you updated.

© 2016 Vandenack Weaver LLC
For more information, Contact Us

NEW OVERTIME RULES TEMPORARILY SUSPENDED

For employers preparing to comply with the new salary exemption regulations, designated to start on December 1, 2016, the new rules have been temporarily suspended. The new regulation would have increased the minimum salary required to qualify for the executive, professional, and administrative exemptions, increasing the minimum salary from $23,660 to $47,892 annually. These exemptions are often referred to as the “white collar” exemption and if an employer failed to meet the minimum salary requirement, the employer would have to pay the employee overtime for time worked past 40 hours in a week.

The temporary injunction means the rule is suspended and will not affect employers until further hearings are held. However, due to the current political climate, it is unclear whether further hearings will occur. Thus, employers do not have to comply with the new exemption rules, but should remain prepared to implement procedures to pay overtime to employees that would not meet the new white collar exemption rules.

For employers that have already implemented policies and procedures to comply with the pending white collar exemption regulations, or those that have communicated pending changes with employees, please contact Vandenack Weaver, LLC, to discuss your options.

© 2016 Vandenack Weaver LLC
For more information, Contact Us

Nebraska Voters Approve Minimum Wage Increase

By Eric W. Tiritilli.

The 2014 midterm elections saw a number of significant races and ballot measures across the country.  One of particular importance to Nebraska employers is Initiative Measure 425 which sought to raise the minimum wage in Nebraska.  This measure passed by a large margin.

As a result, beginning on January 1, 2015, the minimum wage in Nebraska will rise from $7.25 per hour to $8.00 per hour.  Then, beginning on January 1, 2016, the minimum wage will raise to $9.00 per hour.  Nebraska was one of four states in the 2014 elections that passed measures to raise their state’s minimum wage.

© 2014 Parsonage Vandenack Williams LLC

For more information, Contact Us

Federal Contractors Take Note – The Minimum Wage Will Rise to $10.10 in 2015

By Eric W. Tiritilli.

The Department of Labor recently issued a final rule raising the minimum wage for employees working on new covered federal contracts to $10.10 beginning on January 1, 2015.  A “new” contract is one that results from a solicitation issued on or after January 1, 2015, or that is awarded outside of the solicitation process after January 1, 2015.  On January 1, 2016, and annually after that, the minimum wage will be increased in an amount determined by the Secretary of Labor.

Violation of the new Department of Labor rules on minimum wage for covered federal contractors can lead to serious penalties including the withholding of payments due to the contractor to pay wages due to employees and, potentially, debarment.  The Department of Labor notes that the new minimum wage requirements will affect approximately 200,000 workers in the United States.

© 2014 Parsonage Vandenack Williams LLC

For more information, Contact Us

What Is the Difference Between an Employee and an Independent Contractor?

A Business FAQ with Mark A. Williams.

An employee is somebody that you pay wages to, you withhold taxes from them, and you provide them benefits. An independent contractor is one where you pay them a set amount of money and they have to withhold their own wages.

In a business, it is important to be able to recognize when can I pay someone as an employee versus when can I pay them as an independent contractor. There are a lot of different tests depending on certain questions:

  • Do I have to provide workers comp?
  • Do I have to pay unemployment?
  • Do I have to withhold taxes from them?

Generally, I say to people that if you control what they do and tell them you have to be in my office and use my computer, you have to be here at 8 o’clock, you have to leave at noon, that sounds like an employee. And generally if you say to them, “Go get this done sometime over the next couple of weeks,” that sounds like an independent contractor. But really, you have to look at the facts and circumstances to make that determination every time.

© 2014 Parsonage Vandenack Williams LLC

For more information, Contact Us