COVID-19 Employer Resources and Compliance Toolkit

During these uncertain times, Miami Payroll Center is keeping up to date on all legislative and tax related responses to the COVID-19 crisis as they relate to small businesses and their employees. As additional information becomes available from related government agencies such as the Department of Labor and the IRS, this page will be updated accordingly.

On Wednesday, March 18th, the President signed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act to take effect on April 1, 2020 and will sunset on December 31, 2020. The Act provides for mandated paid emergency sick leave and paid family and medical leave for many workers. To offset wages paid under the program, employers will receive a tax credit. There are still several uncertainties, such as the timing of the credits to offset the payments required by employers. Many of the details for implementation are still unknown until individual government agencies, e.g. DOL, IRS, release their own guidance between now and April 1, 2020. As additional details are released for implementation, we will update the information on this page.

If you have specific questions as to how these changes may affect your business, please contact us at 305-273-4066.

Useful Links

COVID-19 Miami Payroll Center Published Resources

IRS Updates

The IRS has established a special section focused on steps to help taxpayers, businesses and others affected by the coronavirus. This page will be updated as new information is available.

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Costly HR payroll mistakes restaurants make

Restaurants in general continue to make costly HR payroll mistakes that leave them exposed to claims by plaintiffs’ lawyers, and increasingly U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (otherwise knows as ICE). These mistakes are easily avoidable by making some easy to implement policies and procedures.

hr payroll classificationFirst of these costly mistakes is the misclassification of employees as exempt, mainly to avoid paying overtime. Cooks, wait staff, and even assistant managers rarely meet the legal requirement required by the IRS to exempt them from overtime laws. Yet, due to the long hours required of these jobs and the temptation to skirt overtime pay an owner will simply misclassify one of these positions as exempt.

We’ve even come across restaurant owners who tell us- My Executive Chef is an artist, and therefore qualifies under the “creative professional exemption”. To this we point out that the Executive Chef must (1) possess a four-year specialized academic degree in a culinary arts program; (2) regularly design unique dishes and menu items (using invention, imagination, originality or talent); (3) be paid on a salary basis of at least $455 per week; and (4) they cannot primarily perform routine mental, manual, or physical work (e.g., routine cooking and food preparation) to qualify. When analyzed closely with this criteria, many Executive Chefs simply fail to meet one or more of the requirements for the exemption.

You cannot simply rely on job titles like “Executive Chef” to determine a classification. To see the full list of exemptions, and the requirements for each- you should visit here and get your information straight from the Department of Labor.

Overtime Pay

Secondly, let’s talk about overtime- always the elephant in the room. Whenever hourly (non-exempt) employees work over 40 hours in a given week, you must pay them time and a half. Sounds simple enough right? What if you are a restaurant in Florida where your tipped employees $5.23 an hour in cash wages, do you pay overtime at $7.85 ($5.23 X 1.5)? This is where many restaurant owners get tripped up.

To properly calculate the overtime for a tipped employee in Florida, you must do the following:

  1. Break out Florida’s combined minimum wage. So, you have $5.23 in cash wages, and $3.02 which is Florida’s maximum tip credit for 2018. Combined, these two add up to Florida’s minim wage of $8.25.
  2. Multiply the time and a half by Florida’s combined minimum wage, so 1.5 X $8.25 = $12.38
  3. Now subtract the tip credit of $3.02 from this overtime calculated rate of $12.38 to get the tipped credit overtime rate of $9.36- and there you have it.

Every hour your tipped Florida employees work in a given week over 40 should be paid at $9.36. Of course, paying your tipped employees more than the $5.23 minimum would impact your tip credit and thus the entire calculation. You’d end up paying your employee more than the $9.36 calculated above.

Lastly, incomplete or incorrect hiring paperwork can come back to bite you in the rear as a restaurant owner. You should have job descriptions, employment applications, a completed and signed W-4 form from the IRS, and a completed and signed I-9 form and verified identification for all of your employees. We also recommend using the government’s E-verify system to verify that your employees can legally work in the U.S.- you can sign your business up to use the system by clicking here.

As always, should you have any questions or need any help in changing your HR payroll policies or procedures to avoid any of these costly mistakes- don’t hesitate to pick up the phone and call our HR team at (305) 273-4066. Thanks!

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The Tax Cuts are Coming

On December 22, 2017, President Donald Trump signed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 bringing with it a slew of changes to the corporate and personal tax code.

One of the impacts of the new law is the reduction in payroll tax withholding rates for 2018. The IRS is currently working to develop withholding guidance to implement the tax reform bill. The IRS emphasizes this information will be designed to work with the existing Forms W-4 that employees have already filed, and no further action by taxpayers is needed at this time.

When will your employees see a reduction in their payroll withholding?

February, or sometime shortly thereafter. The IRS is currently developing initial withholding guidance which will come out in the form of Notice 1036 slated to be published sometime in January ’18.

w-4-changes-comingKeep in mind that depending on the final IRS guidelines, your employees may need to complete and return to you a new W-4 form. Current W-4 form asks employees if they were married and about the number of children in their family. The new tax bill eliminates those exemptions, so the old W-4 will likely be invalid.

The law changes the tax rates and the brackets of taxable income to which the rates apply (see below). It also increased the standard deduction for individuals who do not itemize deductions, suspended the deduction for personal exemptions and increased the child/family tax credit. The new tax rates and tax payer brackets are as follows:

2018 Tax Rate Single Married Filing Jointly
10% $0 to $9,525 $0 to $19,050
12% $9,525 to $38,700 $19,050 to $77,400
22% $38,700 to $82,500 $77,400 to $165,000
24% $82,500 to $157,500 $165,000 to $315,000
32% $157,500 to $200,000 $315,000 to $400,000
35% $200,000 to $500,000 $400,000 to $600,000
37% Over $500,000 Over $600,000


2017 Tax Rate Single Married Filing Jointly
10% $0 to $9,325 $0 to $18,650
15% $9,325 to $37,950 $18,650 to $75,900
25% $37,950 to $91,900 $75,900 to $153,100
28% $91,900 to $191,650 $153,100 to $233,350
33% $191,650 to $416,700 $233,350 to $416,700
35% $416,700 to $418,400 $416,700 to $470,700
39.6% Over $418,400 Over $470,700

Stay tuned to our blog here, or register for our newsletter- and we will keep you informed once final IRS guidelines have been issued.

Have a Happy and Prosperous 2018 everyone!

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USCIS Releases New Form I-9

On July 17, 2017, the USCIS announced the release of a revised version of Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification. The Form I-9 is used for verifying the identity and employment authorization of individuals hired for employment in the United States.

What you need to know:

  • The revised version may be used immediately, but it must be used no later than September 18, 2017.
  • Employers can continue using Form I-9 with a revision date of 11/14/16 N through September 17, 2017.
  • Employers must continue following existing storage and retention rules for any previously completed Form I-9.

The revisions to the Form I-9 instructions are:

  • The name of the Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices (OSC) has been changed. Its new name is Immigrant and Employee Rights Section (IER).
  • The instructions on Section 2 have been slightly changed to read: “Employers or their authorized representative must complete and sign Section 2 within 3 business days of the employee’s first day of employment.”

The revisions related to the List of Acceptable Documents on Form I-9 are:

  • The Consular Report of Birth Abroad (Form FS-240) was added as a List C document and all the certifications of report of birth issued by the Department of State (Form FS-545, Form DS-1350, and Form FS-240) have been combined.
  • The List C documents have been renumbered, except for the Social Security card, which remains #1 on the list.

The changes above can also be found in the newly revised Handbook for Employers: Guidance for Completing Form I-9 (M-274).

If you have any questions about the new form, please contact our Human Resources Team for assistance.

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Companies hiring H-1B workers under additional scrutiny

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) today announced multiple measures to further deter and detect H-1B visa fraud and abuse.

Beginning today, USCIS will take a more targeted approach when making site visits across the country to H-1B petitioners and the worksites of H-1B employees. USCIS will focus on:

Cases where USCIS cannot validate the employer’s basic business information through commercially available data;

  • H-1B-dependent employers (those who have a high ratio of H-1B workers as compared to U.S. workers, as defined by statute); and
  • Employers petitioning for H-1B workers who work off-site at another company or organization’s location.

Targeted site visits will allow USCIS to focus resources where fraud and abuse of the H-1B program may be more likely to occur, and determine whether H-1B dependent employers are evading their obligation to make a good faith effort to recruit U.S. workers. USCIS will continue random and unannounced visits nationwide. These site visits are not meant to target nonimmigrant employees for any kind of criminal or administrative action but rather to identify employers who are abusing the system.

Employers who abuse the H-1B visa program negatively affect U.S. workers, decreasing wages and job opportunities as they import more foreign workers. To further deter and detect abuse, USCIS has established an email address which will allow individuals (including both American workers and H-1B workers who suspect they or others may be the victim of H-1B fraud or abuse) to submit tips, alleged violations and other relevant information about potential H-1B fraud or abuse. Information submitted to the email address will be used for investigations and referrals to law enforcement agencies for potential prosecution.

Existing H-1B Fraud Measures

Since 2009, USCIS has conducted random administrative site visits to ensure that employers and foreign workers are complying with requirements of the H-1B nonimmigrant classification. USCIS refers many cases of suspected fraud or abuse to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) for further investigation.

Additionally, individuals can report allegations of employer fraud or abuse by submitting Form WH-4 to the Department of Labor’s (DOL) Wage and Hour Division or by completing ICE’s HSI Tip Form.

Further information

For more information about the new H-1B visa fraud and abuse detection initiative, visit the Combating Fraud and Abuse in the H-1B Visa Program web page.

For information about H-1B petition requirements, visit the USCIS H-1B webpage.

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New I-9 Handbook for Employers

New I-9 Handbook for Employers Released Tuesday, February 14, 2017

United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) quietly and without much notice released the new M-274 “Handbook for Employers with Guidance for Completing Form I-9” on Tuesday. In addition to detailed I-9 completion instructions, the Handbook contains guidance on Photocopying and Retention, Unlawful Discrimination and Penalties, E-Verify. It also contains FAQs as well as images of sample documents.

Link to the handbook here.

The new I-9 Form went into effect on January 22, 2017.  Electronic copies of the English and Spanish versions of Form I-9 are available on the USCIS website or may be ordered by phone at 800-870-3676.

The USCIS provides customer support and resources at its anonymous Employer Hotline (888-464-4218) or at  and

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Fiduciary Rule Delayed

Unless you’re a benefits or retirement manager, you probably have not paid much attention to the Department of Labor’s Fiduciary Rule announced last April. One of the rule’s goals was to put an end to the billions of dollars a year that investors are estimated to waste paying exorbitant fees. According to, “The idea is that the regulation will stop advisers from putting their own interests in earning high commissions and fees over clients’ interests in obtaining the best investments at the lowest prices.”

DOLIn short, the DOL’s definition of a fiduciary requires that financial advisors, salespersons, planners, agents and brokers act in the best interests of their clients, put their clients’ interests above their own and clearly disclose all fees and commissions in dollar form. The rule creates a much greater level of accountability than salespersons and others have seen in the past and would have had a significant impact on those who rely on commission based sales. Retirement planning for defined contribution plans (401(k), 403(b), employee stock ownership), defined benefits plans (pension plans) and IRA’s could have seen significant changes.

On February 3, 2017, President Trump signed an Executive Order delaying the rule’s implementation by 180 days (6 months). This order includes instructions for the DOL to carry out an “economic and legal analysis” on the rule’s potential impact. The memo also stated that if the DOL concludes that the regulation hurts investors or firms, it can propose a rule “rescinding or revising” the regulation. Acting U.S. Secretary of Labor Ed Hugler issued a statement following the release of President Trump’s memorandum on the Department of Labor’s Fiduciary Rule that said only “The Department of Labor will now consider its legal options to delay the applicability date as we comply with the President’s memorandum.”

For now, this means that retirement investments and planning will continue as is. Although the battle to implement the rule took six years, it will come as no surprise if it is rescinded in less than six months’ time. A potential win for the financial services industry, a potential loss for retirement investors.

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Florida’s Tipped Minimum Wage

Each year by October 15th the State of Florida determines what the following year’s minimum wage rate will be. Take a minute to check your calendar – we can expect this announcement soon! While many would like to think these decisions are completely left to politics and protesters, the minimum wage determination in Florida is actually made using a formula that ties the minimum wage to the consumer price index (CPI).[1]

Last October it was announced that there would be no minimum wage increase in Florida for 2016. The decision was a surprise to some, especially those in the hospitality industry which contains a large number of the state’s minimum wage workforce.  However, since Florida has already established a minimum wage higher than the federal minimum, news of a flat year was welcomed by employers.

tipsEmployers in the hospitality industry have come to terms with Florida’s higher-than-federal minimum wage, but many struggle with the tipped minimum wage and how to ensure compliance when paying tipped employees.  The current minimum wage in Florida is $8.05 per hour, with a minimum directly paid wage of at least $5.03 per hour for tipped employees (with tips making up the difference).

Thus, in Florida, the employer can claim $3.02 toward the $8.05 minimum wage as long as the employee actually receives $3.02 in tips per hour. If the employee does not receive $3.02 per hour in tips the employer must pay the difference so that the full minimum wage is met.

While we wait to see if the state minimum wage (as well as the tipped minimum wage and tip credit amounts) will change for next year, now is a good time to review related Department of Labor Rules.

To begin with, employers must provide tipped employees specific information from the start of employment[2]:

  1. Notice of the amount of direct hourly wages it is paying a tipped employee, which must be at least $5.03 in Florida
  2. The additional amount it claims as a tip credit, which cannot exceed $3.02
  3. An explanation that the tip credit it claims cannot exceed the amount of tips actually received by the tipped employee;
  4. A statement that all tips received by the tipped employee are to be retained by the employee unless there is a valid tip-pooling arrangement in place; and
  5. An explanation that the tip credit will not apply to any tipped employee unless the employee has been informed of the tip credit provisions.

Two aspects seem to be at the root of many tipped minimum wage and hour disputes: Dual jobs and tip pools.

Many employers don’t consider their tipped staff to have dual jobs. However, if tipped workers are expected to spend some of their shift completing work that does not provide tips, they may have a dual job. Take a server for example. The server may spend four hours waiting tables, but then two additional hours cleaning, taking inventory, stocking table condiments, etc. The employer must pay the server the full minimum wage, without taking a tip credit, for those two hours.[3]

Another issue is tip pooling. Although tip pooling has potential benefits for employees, it can also be misused by employers. While many believe that back-of-house staff (line cooks, dishwashers, bussers, etc.) deserve a cut of the tip for their role in the dining experience, this practice cuts wait staff tip wages by more than 50%, which is definitely not in accordance with the law. According to the Federal Department of Labor, only employees who regularly receive tips can be part of the pool and employees must receive notice that they will be pooling. The law says that employees cannot be required to share their tips with employees who do not receive their own tips, like dishwashers or cooks.[4]

Whether or not the minimum wage (and tipped minimum wage!) will change next year as a result of the CPI formula or the presidential election, employers should review their payroll practices to ensure compliance and minimize the chance of wage and hour issues!








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Equal Pay Debate Will Fall to Next President

With the passing of longtime anti-feminist Phyllis Schlafly, famous for her long and prominent history opposing women’s rights and equal pay, perhaps now is the perfect time to consider the impact the election could have on equal pay, especially since this election could potentially result in the first female president of the US.

According to 2014 Census data, the most recent available, women earn an average of 79 cents for every dollar a man makes. This disparity is even greater for African American women (60 cents per dollar) and Latinas (54 cents per dollar). While the Obama administration has attempted to push forward legislation to address pay inequality, this issue will most likely fall to our next president.

Traditional political party roles on the idea of equal pay for equal work were *almost* shattered this election season when Ivanka Trump announced that her father Donald Trump, current Republican nominee, “will fight for equal pay for equal work.” While Trump has said that “women who work as hard as men [should] make the same if [they] do as good a job,” this statement does not mean that Trump plans to fight for gender based equal pay. In fact, Trump stands firmly with Republican party leaders, many of whom are dedicated to defeating potential gender equity pay laws.

Working to ensure that employers provide equal pay for equal work has traditionally been a priority for the Democratic Party. Republicans have historically opposed any laws that would infringe on an employer’s ability to reward its workers on the basis of merit with minimal government interference. Those positions have held true so far in the 2016 presidential election season.[1]

Senate to take up and pass the Paycheck Fairness Act, legislation which will help close the wage gap between women and men working equivalent jobs, costing women and their families $434,000 over their careers

Senate to take up and pass the Paycheck Fairness Act, legislation which will help close the wage gap between women and men working equivalent jobs, costing women and their families $434,000 over their careers

Hillary Clinton, who sponsored the Paycheck Fairness Act during her time as a Senator, is still pushing to pass the act, which goes beyond equal pay to cover paid family leave and minimum wage increases among other things. While the Paycheck Fairness Act sounds like a simple and fair fix, opponents say that it could create excessive legislation that would create a burden for small businesses.

Earlier this year the Obama administration proposed executive action through the EEOC to require employers with 100+ workers to provide detailed information about employee earnings. Under the proposed law, employers would need to break down pay information by gender, race and ethnicity so that pay gaps are easily identified. [2] For more than 50 years, employers have reported workforce data by race, ethnicity, sex and job category. This proposal would add summary data reported by pay ranges and hours worked. Under the most recent proposal, the report on 2017 employment information would be due by March 31, 2018.[3]

While no one knows what this requirement might look like after the election, or if it will even exist, legal experts recommend reviewing current pay structures to identify and then address or justify areas of pay disparity.






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Do your managers qualify for their exempt status?

Small business owners without any HR expertise and without seeking outside counsel tend to classify their employees on a whim, believing that granting someone “exempt” status will save the business on overtime expenses. Little thought is given to whether their “exempt” employees actually qualify for their exempt status. This is a problem that unfortunately, many of them don’t realize the severity of until there’s a claim of overtime that allows for them to learn about the qualifications for the exemption. By then, its usually too late and they are well on their way to losing a case.

Salary Test

Generally, an employee is paid on a salary basis if s/he has a “guaranteed minimum” amount of money s/he can count on receiving for any work week in which s/he performs “any” work. To qualify as exempt, employees must generally be paid a predetermined amount over $455 per week each pay period not-dependent on the quality or quantity of the work performed. Starting December 1st, 2016, the salary threshold of $455 a week will rise to $913 ($47,476 per year) making an additional 4.2 million workers eligible for overtime pay.

The Duties Tests

An employee who meets the salary level tests and also the salary basis tests is exempt only if s/he also performs exempt job duties.

There are three typical categories of exempt job duties, called “executive,” “professional,” and “administrative.”

Exempt executive job duties.

Job duties are exempt executive job duties if the employee

  1. regularly supervises two or more other employees, and also,
  2. has management as the primary duty of the position, and also,
  3. has some genuine input into the job status of other employees (such as hiring, firing, promotions, or assignments).

“Mere supervision” is not sufficient. In addition, the supervisory employee must have “management” as the “primary duty” of the job.

Business owners should remember to look at the job duties of the position, not the job title of an employee to determine whether an exempt status applies. The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) also provides certain exemptions for outside sales personnel, certain specialized computer personnel, certain highly compensated employees, certain retail sales employees, and employees covered by the Motor Carrier Act (MCA); Qualifying for these and documenting your rationale can get a little technical, and business owners should consult with an HR or Labor Attorney to ensure the exemption will hold up if ever challenged.

With the new salary threshold becoming effective in a few months, the time is perfect for employers to reevaluate their exempt/nonexempt classifications. If you are concerned that some of your exempt workers may be misclassified, the new regulations will give you another reason to revise their classification without necessarily creating liability for past wages.

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The new overtime rules are here!

Key Provisions of the Final Rule

The Final Rule focuses primarily on updating the salary and compensation levels needed for Executive, Administrative and Professional workers to be exempt. Specifically, the Final Rule:

  1. Sets the standard salary level at the 40th percentile of earnings of full-time salaried workers in the lowest-wage Census Region, currently the South ($913 per week; $47,476 annually for a full-year worker);
  2. Sets the total annual compensation requirement for highly compensated employees (HCE) subject to a minimal duties test to the annual equivalent of the 90th percentile of full-time salaried workers nationally ($134,004); and
  3. Establishes a mechanism for automatically updating the salary and compensation levels every three years to maintain the levels at the above percentiles and to ensure that they continue to provide useful and effective tests for exemption.

Additionally, the Final Rule amends the salary basis test to allow employers to use nondiscretionary bonuses and incentive payments (including commissions) to satisfy up to 10 percent of the new standard salary level.

The effective date of the final rule is December 1, 2016.

The initial increases to the standard salary level (from $455 to $913 per week) and HCE total annual compensation requirement (from $100,000 to $134,004 per year) will be effective on that date. Future automatic updates to those thresholds will occur every three years, beginning on January 1, 2020. 

Complying with the new Overtime Rules

Overtime RulesWondering how these new rules impact your labor force, and what you can do to ensure you remain in compliance? We can help! Complete the form to your right or call and ask for help- one of our HR Consultants will be glad to sit with you and analyze the impact to your impact and recommend solutions for your particular situation. There is no one-size-fits-all solution to complying with this rule, as what is best for every business can vary depending on many factors.


Final Rule: Overtime

Defining and Delimiting the Exemptions for Executive, Administrative, Professional, Outside Sales and Computer Employees under the Fair Labor Standards Act


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Uber will pay up to $100 million to settle labor suits

Uber has agreed to pay millions of dollars to settle two class-action lawsuits that would have defined the relationship between the company and its drivers.

Uber has survived a major threat to its business model, settling two legal suits brought by drivers who sought to be classified as employees instead of independent contractors.
The ride-hailing firm will pay up to $100 million to the 385,000 drivers, but their employment status will not change.

The class actions were brought in California and Massachusetts. Uber, which is valued at up to $70 billion, is on the hook for a $84 million initial payment, and another $16 million if it goes public.

Source: Uber will pay up to $100 million to settle labor suits

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Are You a Joint Employer? Well…It’s Complicated!

nlrbIn late August the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) made a decision (Browning-Ferris Industries of California, Inc., et al. v. Sanitary Truck Drivers and Helpers Local 350, International Brotherhood of Teamsters) that might make you think twice about outsourcing your next project. Through this decision the NLRB pronounced a new legal standard to determine if a business is a joint employer of another’s employees. They’ve also created a fair amount of confusion and uncertainty in the process. Under this new standard, employers may now have obligations and liabilities under federal labor law in relation to the employees of a variety of other companies with which they do business – their contractors, suppliers and franchisees just to name a few.

The decision says that two or more companies are joint employers if they share the ability to govern terms and conditions of employment. If you set some of the terms or conditions of employment for temporary staff, your contractor’s staff or an employee of an outside agency, the NLRB might consider you to be a joint employer.  That not only means that you could be held liable for labor violations but, since this decision makes it easier for labor unions to organize employees of staffing agencies and franchises, it also means that you could be forced into collective bargaining negotiations. Employers using staffing agencies are particularly at risk. If you have sufficient authority to control things like wages and working conditions, you may be considered a worker’s employer, even if another company also qualifies as an employer of that same worker.

Not convinced that this applies to you? Consider this: If you have the ability to reject temporary workers, establish qualifications or assign work shifts for temporary employees or the employees of a contractor, then it is very possible you could be considered a joint employer. If you require these workers to follow your company’s safety procedures and go through your company’s training, you could be considered a joint employer. If your supervisors provide oversight for these workers, you could be considered a joint employer.

For more than 30 years the NLRB considered a company a joint employer only if it had direct control over working conditions and chose to exercise that control. Now a company may be deemed a joint employer if it has indirect control or simply reserves the right to have such control.  So even if a company has the right to control working conditions but chooses not to use it, they can still be liable for the negative impact of other joint employers of that worker.

Now is the time to consider your current employment practices in order to avoid unintentional joint employer status. While the NLRB’s decision provides little detail that will enable you to guarantee you are not a joint employer, you should review franchise agreements, staffing agency contracts, etc. in an effort to mitigate this risk.

It is important to note that the recent decision has no impact on laws over which the NLRB has no jurisdiction. For example, this does not change the definition of who is an employee for tax or benefits purposes.

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Scott signs bill banning pregnancy discrimination into law

On May 21, 2015, Florida Governor Rick Scott signed a new law-SB 982: Florida Civil Rights Act, effectively banning discrimination against pregnant women at work and in public places. The law, which becomes effective July 1, 2015, amends Florida’s Civil Rights Act (FCRA) to expand the existing protected classes of race, sex, and physical disability to include pregnancy. Although Federal law, including the Pregnancy Discrimination Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act, is intended to protect pregnant women- they still experience widespread discrimination.

For more information, or to read the full text of the bill please click here.

You may be asking yourself, “But Alex, isn’t this already illegal?”

Pregnant_womanAnd the answer is yes, since 1978 federal law has recognized pregnancy as a protected class; problem was- the Florida Civil Rights Act did not specifically contain this protection. Back in April 2014, the Florida Supreme Court held in Delva v. Continental Group, Inc. (No. SC12-2315) that “discrimination based on pregnancy is in fact discrimination based on sex because it is discrimination as to a natural condition unique to only one sex.” By passing this legislation, our state lawmakers are just now codifying existing judge-made case law, by amending the express language of the Florida statute itself.

Why now, and what does this mean for you as a business owner in Florida? Simply stated- individuals now have a cause of action for pregnancy discrimination under Florida law, which extends the time period in which an individual has to bring a claim. Also, successful plaintiffs may be able to recover additional damages under state law- where damages are capped differently than they are under Title VII.

What you should do, and ensure you and your hiring managers are always doing- is focusing your attention like a laser on whether the candidate in front of you has the knowledge, skills, and abilities to perform and excel at the position you have available. That, and how well of a cultural fit the candidate would be in your organization. Anything other than that, and you’re taking your proverbial eyes off the ball.


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President Obama to raise the overtime salary threshold

The President proposed changes today that would extend overtime protections to nearly 5 million white-collar workers.

Workers who earn as much as $970 a week—$50,440 a year—would have to be paid overtime even if they’re classified as a manager or professional, according to an announcement on the DOL website.

What do you need to know about this proposed rule change?

First and foremost, if it is approved this increase would only be the second one since 1975. Secondly, because this is a “rule change”— think of it as an executive order— it doesn’t require Congress’s approval. In other words, the president can enact this change on his own.

Failure to update the overtime regulations has left an exception to overtime eligibility originally meant for highly-compensated executive, administrative, and professional employees now applying to workers earning as little as $23,660 a year.

Watch more on the President’s announcement of the rule change here:

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