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

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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

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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

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Raising the Minimum Wage? Defeated, for Now…

You may have heard about recent efforts to raise the federal minimum wage from its current rate of $7.25 per hour to over $10 per hour. That effort has been defeated, at least for now. The federal government reported that 3.3 million workers earned at or below the federal minimum wage in 2013. Recently, legislation was proposed that would have raised the minimum wage to $10.10 over the next two and a half years. The proposed legislation would have also raised the minimum wage for “tipped” employees and provided for yearly increases to provide for inflation. The Senate rejected this proposed legislation.

Although this most current attempt to raise the minimum wage has been defeated, the issue will likely be revisited in the future. Obviously, any change to the minimum wage laws could have important and immediate effects on businesses both large and small. We will continue to monitor proposed changes to the wage and hour law. Stay tuned…

© 2014 Parsonage Vandenack Williams LLC

For more information, Contact Us

Commuting and Overtime Pay

If you have employees with remote workplace access and long commutes, you may be at risk for a wage headache. Generally, you do not have to pay your employees for normal travel from home to work. But, if your employees work during their commute, you may have to pay them for that time. If a telecommuting employee comes into the office for a meeting, you may owe them pay for their commute. If you knowingly let employees work off-the-clock from home, you might also be liable.

Limit your risk by including a policy in your handbook prohibiting unauthorized work; however, a handbook policy by itself will not protect your business. To reduce your risk further, regularly remind employees of the policy. You should also discipline employees who violate an unauthorized work policy. Increased monitoring is a common form of discipline for unauthorized work issues. In more extreme cases, you might have to cut off e-mail or remote access privileges. It may even be necessary to confiscate employer-owned electronics. If you have telecommuting employees who come to the office for required meetings, you can take extra steps. The easiest way to handle this is scheduling the meeting for the beginning or end of the day.

© 2013 Parsonage Vandenack Williams LLC

For more information, contact info@pvwlaw.com