Don’t Halt Compliance Efforts Just Because of Legal Challenges to the New Overtime Rule

On Sept. 20, 2016, Nevada and Texas led 21 states, including the Commonwealth of Kentucky, in filing a lawsuit to challenge the Department of Labor’s (DoL’s) new overtime rule changes set to go into effect Dec. 1 of this year. Right behind them, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, National Automobile Dealers Association, National Association of Wholesaler Distributors and other groups filed their own appeal.

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“The DoL went too far in the new overtime regulation,” said Randy Johnson, senior vice president of Labor, Immigration, and Employee Benefits for the U.S. Chamber. “We’ve heard from our members, small businesses, nonprofits, and other employers that the salary threshold is going to result in significant new labor costs and cause many disruptions in how work gets done,” Johnson said in a press release. “Furthermore, the automatic escalator provision means that employers will have to go through their reclassification analysis every three years. In combination, the new overtime rule will result in salaried professional employees being converted to hourly wages, and it will reduce workplace flexibility, remote electronic access to work, and opportunities for career advancement.”

The  Chamber Suit

  • The Chamber suit charges that the rule departs from the intent established by Congress in the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) 78 years ago in that:
  • It sets an excessively high threshold for determining which positions qualify as executive, administrative, and professional.
  • The DoL “ignored regional and industry differences that have been previously acknowledged,” which results in a one-size-fits-none salary threshold.
  • The automatic triennial update “with no rulemaking or taking input from affected parties is not authorized by the Fair Labor Standards Act or any other relevant statute.”

The  States’ Suit

The states’ suit notes:

  • The new rule disregards the actual requirement of the FLSA by doubling the minimum salary threshold (from $23.660 to $47,476) that applies regardless whether an employee actually performs white-collar duties.
  • The best first indicator of white-collar exempt status is if a person in the exempt position actually performs white-collar work, not whether the salary meets the minimum.
  • The triennial salary increase based on the 40th percentile of the weekly earnings of full-time salaried workers in the lowest wage Census region. The increase “not only evades the statutory command to delimit the exception from ‘time to time,’ as well as the notice and comment requirements of the Administrative Procedure Act, it also ignores the DoL’s prior admissions [in President George W. Bush’s administration] that ‘nothing in the legislative or regulatory history…would support indexing or automatic increases.”

The new rule unconstitutionally requires states to pay overtime to state employees that are performing white-collar functions when the employees earn less than an amount to be determined by the executive branch of the federal government.

Lawsuits Can Fail

As heartening as these lawsuits may be to businesses, there is always the possibility that the lawsuits fail. Nearly since the rule was proposed, there have been experts who have predicted that the rule would be challenged in the courts.

But as Lawrence Mishel, Ph.D., economist and president of the Economic Policy Institute, a nonpartisan, Washington, D. C., think tank said in a recent interview by Society for Human Resource Management, “The DoL fulfilled all of their obligations during the rulemaking proceeding. They crossed every t and dotted every i. The final overtime pay rule update should be implemented as planned starting Dec. 1.”

With that in mind, don’t stop preparations for complying with the new overtime rule. The deadline for having everything in place will be here sooner rather than later.

Information provided by writer, Diane Faulkner, is not legal in nature. All reviews and opinions are submitted and based upon extensive research, experience in the human resources and labor relations fields and are not, in any way, legal opinions.

Don’t Halt Compliance Efforts Just Because of Legal Challenges to the New Overtime Rule

Can You Cut an Employee’s Pay and Not Get Sued?

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Anytime you want to cut an employee’s pay, you run the risk of getting sued. It’s just that simple. This is especially true if the employee is in a protected class. Anyone can try to file a lawsuit for any reason. Let’s just get that out there.

That said, the reason and circumstances surrounding a cut in pay are key.

In the U. S., employers can cut pay as long as the employee isn’t covered by a collective bargaining agreement or some other agreement, like an employment contract. The cut also cannot reduce the pay to a level that’s less than the minimum wage. If the position is  exempt from the overtime laws, (Fair Labor Standards Act), then you must keep the salary above the minimum to maintain exempt status. Just know that there is the new minimum salary level of $47,476 that goes into effect December 1, 2016, and that if the person is to stay exempt, that test must still be met.

Note: the employee may be eligible for unemployment compensation for the pay that’s lost.

How Much Notice Must I Give?

In Florida, where I am, there are no laws that address when or how you may cut an employee’s pay or whether an employer must provide notice prior to the reduction. That said, the reduction can only apply to hours worked after the status change. (i.e. Salaried workers would be paid the new rate the following full workweek, as you cannot separate out hours without giving up exempt status). It’s up to you–in Florida– if you want to give notice and how far in advance you want to do so.

To check your state wage payment laws, check with your state Department of Labor or look up your state on The Lunt Group’s Employment Law Handbook.

When is it Illegal to Cut Pay?

  • When you don’t give notice (in some states). Pay cuts can’t be retroactive (in all states).
  • When you cut pay in response to protected activity. e.g. An employee files a sexual harassment complaint, and then you cut the employee’s pay as a result. (Title VII retaliation). An employee complains about working conditions or wages on social media, and you cut pay as a result. (NLRA retaliation–NLRA covers non-union employees, too).
  • When you only cut pay for specific classes. e.g. It’s discriminatory to cut all Asians’ pay, but no one else, or pay for everyone over 40, but no one else, etc.
  • When the cut drops pay below minimum wage, even if the employee agrees to the cut. Where federal and state minimums differ, the higher rate applies.
  • When there is a contracted amount or there is an employment contract. Most common in union situations where each job’s rate is clearly spelled out.
  • When the exempt employee pay cut is temporary. One requirement for exempt employees is that their pay rate remains the same, regardless of hours worked. A temporary cut is illegal, e.g. cut for a few weeks or months, but a permanent cut is legal.
Circumstances Matter

Circumstances are important when choosing to cut pay. If a business is foundering, then it’s critical that the CEO take the same pay cut as everyone else. To do otherwise would further decrease morale and set people off to find work elsewhere. Taking the cut would still be financially shocking, just not as emotionally devastating, because the pain would seem to be equally spread.

There are times, though, when an employee experiences a substantial job change–down, not up.  Demotions in jobs may also equate to demotions in pay. It all depends upon your wage/salary bands and  your position descriptions.

Say you have several different offices of different sizes, each managed by a branch manager. While the core management duties of each manager are the same, e.g. manage people, hire and fire, evaluate, etc., the size of each branch is different. Corresponding responsibilities would also be different. One manager may have 20 employees, while another has only three. The branch manager of the largest branch sits participates in meetings with the president and other department managers to make significant decisions for the enterprise, while the others do not. If each branch manager is working under the same position description and is paid within the same salary band as the others, demoting one and cutting pay could get tricky, especially if the one being demoted is in a protected class. There’s room for legal action.

The fix is to update position descriptions for each branch and denote them as level one, two, three, whatever. Next, you would update you salary bands to correspond with how each branch prices out. Broadcast the update throughout the enterprise and specifically communicate with each branch manager as to the new job titles and salary bands. Once you’ve done this, you’re better set in moving forward with the demotion as long as you have your documentation in order. (The updates should be done for all positions, especially if they haven’t been done in a while).

Once you have your ducks in a row, you should feel more comfortable proceeding with the demotion and pay cut.

As always, whenever you are unsure about the steps to take in tricky employment situations, a labor attorney can always help you make the right decisions to keep you out of court.

Information provided on this site is not legal in nature. All reviews and opinions are submitted and based upon extensive research, experience in the human resources and labor relations fields, and are not, in any way, legal opinions.
Can You Cut an Employee’s Pay and Not Get Sued?

5 Steps to Prepare for New Overtime Exemptions Rule

It’s almost mid-year. Are you prepared for the impending changes to the overtime exemptions rule? This rule isn’t like the Affordable Care Act where the changes will be doled out over the course of a decade. No. Once the Department of Labor (DoL) makes its final ruling, you’ll likely have fewer than 90 days, if not fewer than 60 days, to comply. And, those days will be before the year’s end.

That means you need to start preparing now, if you haven’t already, because both your 2016 staffing and budget plans will be affected.

Even though the final rule hasn’t been handed down, there are things you can do to prepare, regardless the form the rules take:

1. Audit exempt employees’ work hours

The DoL has proposed to raise the minimum exempt employee salary threshold from $23,660 to $47,476, so the first step you need to take is to calculate the number of hours current exempt employees work who make less than the new minimum. You can’t assume exempt employees all work 40 hours a week. Many work 45, 50, or more. Many take meetings or conduct job interviews after hours. Others are checking and responding to emails and voicemails after hours and on the weekends. Don’t allow yourself to be blindsided.

The next thing to consider is whether to give raises to those who are below, but very close to, the threshold and who are most likely to work overtime to avoid the overtime obligations.

Note: Non-discretionary bonuses may be allowed to be counted, and possibly commissions, toward 10 percent of workers’ salary levels. That may help to move a few of those near the line over the threshold without having to give them a raise. But, no one knows until the final rules are issued.

2. Assess effects on benefits

Do you have certain benefits for exempt employees that non-exempt ones don’t have? That’s a question you’ll want to address. Once re-classifications are instituted, many people may be losing benefits they may have been enjoying for years.

If that’s the case, should you change your benefits plans to allow those reclassified workers to keep their benefits, or do you want to eliminate those benefits to make up for any costs as a result of now paying those workers overtime?

3. Expand time-tracking systems

Any way you look at it, the non-exempt population is going to swell. That means you need to expand your time-tracking systems to ensure proper overtime pay. A visit with the tech department now will go a long way toward implementing a workable system to handle the new load later in the year.

4. Look at remote work arrangements

What do the impending rule changes mean for remote work: checking and responding to work email and voicemail, taking off-site meetings and calls after work, etc.

You can make all the rules you want to prohibit employees from engaging in these activities, but some of them are just going to do it. And, whether you agree to the overtime or not, whether or not you approve it, you still have to pay for the time spent doing it. And, when that happens, you need to ensure you have a way to track that time so you can correctly compensate them. That’s another reason to get with your IT people now rather than later. They  need time to come up with tracking mechanisms for after-hours and at-home work.

It’s interesting to note that in the Spring 2015 DoL Regulatory Agenda,  the DoL said it is seeking information on “… [T]he use of technology, including portable electronic devices, by employees away from the workplace and outside of scheduled work hours …”

This means there could be  some rule-making on this subject as well — like perhaps a definition of what qualifies as “de minimis” work.

Currently, the FLSA says “de minimis” work (typically five minutes or less) done beyond the 40-hour workweek by non-exempt employees is not compensable.

The common practice of workers reading and responding to emails off the clock on their smartphones, though, has complicated the issue of “de minimis” work.

5. Create a communication plan

Believe it or not, (the DoL doesn’t), being reclassified from exempt to non-exempt feels like a demotion.

If you don’t plan to raise some (or all) of your currently exempt workers’ salaries to the new minimum, you need to have some sort of communication plan in place. If you’re not going to raise some workers’ salaries and they’re about to be reclassified as non-exempt, you need a plan in place for how you’ll break the news to them.

Biggest issues to cover:

  • Punching a clock. More workers will be doing it, and it will look and feel like a demotion. How will you explain why it’s now necessary?
  • Loss of flexibility. Taking time off to go to the doctor or attend a child’s event could result in less pay for newly minted hourly workers. How will you break this news to them?  Will you let them make up the time? If so, will the other hourlies be allowed to make up time?

Bonus: Potential duties test changes

The DoL may eliminate the “concurrent duties” rule and require employees to spend more than 50% of their time exclusively on exempt duties for them to maintain an exempt classification.

Assume those changes will be adopted and you could avoid costly surprises down the road.

Information provided by writer, Diane Faulkner, is not legal in nature. All reviews and opinions are submitted and based upon extensive research, experience in the human resources and labor relations fields and are not, in any way, legal opinions.

5 Steps to Prepare for New Overtime Exemptions Rule

Proposed Changes to FLSA (a.k.a. Fair Labor Standards Act or Wage & Hour)

The U. S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division finally released its 295-page long Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPR) that proposes changes to the executive, professional, highly-compensated, and administrative employee exemptions from the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) overtime requirements. The release, which was posted June 30, 2015, was accompanied by a Fact Sheet and Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) list.

Employers should be aware of the following key sections:

SALARY TEST CHANGES

There are basically two changes that stand out. One is the weekly salary that must be paid for an employee to qualify for the executive, professional, or administrative exemptions from the FLSA overtime rule. The other is the annual compensation that must be paid for an employee to qualify for the highly-compensated exemption.

Since the last update in 2004, the current salary threshold for the executive, professional, and administrative exemptions is $455 a week, which translates into $23,660 a year. The proposed minimum weekly salary is set at the 40th percentile of weekly earnings for all full-time salaried employees. Since the Final Rule is expected to be issued in 2016, the projected new figure is $970 a week ($50,440 a year). Yes, that’s more than double the current threshold.

The effect? A dramatically increased number of salaried employees will qualify for overtime pay. In fact, in his editorial about the proposed rule, President Obama noted that approximately five million employees in the United States will qualify for overtime pay if the proposed rule is adopted.

The surprise in the NPR is the proposal to automatically increase the minimum weekly salary requirement each year based on data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This marks the first time since FLSA was passed in 1938 that such a requirement has been suggested. How to index the figures has not yet been chosen. Two different indexing methods have been studied and the Department is soliciting comments on the process.

Similarly, the Department has proposed to increase the minimum annual compensation for the highly-compensated employee exemption. Currently, the figure is $100,00. The proposed figure is, in 2016 dollars, $122,148.  This figure, too, is proposed to be increased annually based on the same index that would apply to the weekly salary requirement.

NO DUTIES TEST CHANGES

Though Duties Test changes were predicted for the executive, professional, and administrative exemptions, even adoption of a California-style requirement that 50 percent of an exempt employee’s time each week be devoted to performing exempt tasks, no changes are forthcoming. Rather, the Department is soliciting comments about the respective Duties Tests. No specific regulatory changes have been proposed at this time.

What will the Department do regarding the Duties Tests? There are two trains of thought: by not proposing changes, commentators believe the Department may have foreclosed its ability to make regulatory changes without further notice and comment; and, the solicitation for comments may indicate that the Department is considering issuing a second round of proposed amendments and opening up a second comment period at a more opportune time.


GOING FORWARD

In the next few days, the NPR is expected to be formally published in the Federal Register, and President Obama is scheduled to publicly comment on July 1st. The Federal Register will provide the timeframe during which written comments will be accepted, which should be at least 60 days. Comments may be submitted at regulations.gov.

Disclaimer: I am not a licensed attorney. My blogs are based on my own experiences, interviews (where credited), and loads of research, and do not represent legal advice.

Proposed Changes to FLSA (a.k.a. Fair Labor Standards Act or Wage & Hour)

15 Employment and Labor Resolutions for 2015, part 2 of 3

In the second part of the series of resolutions everyone should make to keep their human resource department running smoothly — and legally, we have five more entries:

 6. Audit your wage-hour compliance. Unintentional overtime and wage-hour law violations have a new name in many quarters: “wage theft.” Federal and state agencies and plaintiff’s lawyers, sometimes encouraged by labor unions and their affiliate groups, are saying “show me the money” and finding it. In addition, the U.S. Department of Labor has said that it will attempt to narrow the white-collar exemptions this year. (Although the DOL says the changes will not be drastic, they are expected to be drastic). Among other things, a good wage-hour audit will include ensuring that lower-wage employees are getting at least the applicable minimum wage; that employees are not being required or “pressured” to work off the clock, or “winked at” when they do so; that the employees classified as “exempt” really are; and that any “independent contractors” really are (see also Resolution No. 1). Be sure that the review includes compliance with applicable state and local minimum wage laws, too. Many states now have a higher minimum wage than the Fair Labor Standards Act rate.

7. Update your EEO/no-harassment policies, and get that training done! In just the past year, the EEOC has taken the position that pregnancy and related conditions (including lactation) must be reasonably accommodated. The EEOC and the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs, which enforces the affirmative action laws that apply to federal contractors, both agree that “gender identity” is a protected category and that discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity violates Title VII. Do your policies reflect this? Do your employees know the new rules? Do victims of harassment and discrimination know that they have recourse?

8. Review your use of criminal background and credit information in hiring decisions. Many state and local laws prohibit employers from asking about criminal history on employment applications, and the EEOC has taken an aggressive position on the use of criminal or credit information in making employment decisions. You can still get this information, but are you getting it properly? If you find that an individual has a criminal or credit problem, are you making the required “individualized analysis” that takes into account, among other things, the nature of the conviction, the years that have passed, and the particular position for which the individual is applying? Did you grab some “canned” rules from a website, or are your rules customized to fit your industry, your workforce, and the people you serve?

9. If you’re a federal contractor, make sure you are up to date on all of the OFCCP’s new requirements. For example, the new requirement that you prohibit discrimination or harassment based on gender identity. The new minimum wage (applicable to some, but not all, federal contractors). The new scheduling letter and itemized listing. The proposed rule prohibiting employers from requiring that employees avoid discussing their pay. The rule requiring employers to “air their dirty linen” by disclosing certain violations of federal labor and employment laws. The new rule on disability discrimination/accommodation and veterans. (“Perform compensation analysis” is another good resolution if you haven’t done one lately).

10. Make sure you’re in compliance with the new injury and illness reporting requirements under the Occupational Safety and Health Act, which took effect on January 1. (Reported on this new rule back in September).

 Check back next week for the last installment of the 15 resolutions.

Disclaimer I am not a licensed attorney. My blogs are based on my own experiences, interviews (where credited), and loads of research and do not represent legal advice.

15 Employment and Labor Resolutions for 2015, part 2 of 3

COMP ME! Comp-time and you . . or not

Compensatory time is a beautiful thing . . . but you may not be able to use it or grant it; and if you do, you could be setting up yourself – and your company – for major trouble.

What is Comp-time?

According to the Office of Personnel Management site at www.opm.gov, comp-time is:

“Time off with pay in lieu of overtime pay for irregular or occasional overtime work,

or

When permitted under agency flexible work schedule programs, time off with pay in lieu of overtime pay for regularly scheduled or irregular or occasional overtime work.”

Key phrase: Agency

All employers are not eligible to offer compensatory time, only government agencies as in actual government offices, not companies that simply do business under or have a government contract. Federal, state, county, city, township, village, as long as the IRS defines a payroll is defined as a government payroll, compensatory time may be granted if the agency has a defined flexible work schedule program.

. . . but, I own my own business

Uncle Sam doesn’t really care – at least, not in this instance. All businesses – private, public; small, large; government, utility, railroad – you name the employer type – each must follow the payroll rules outlined in the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (FLSA).

Under the current rules, which were updated as recently as the first administration in the second Bush era, all positions that do not meet the overtime exemption rule (see later blog for definitions and explanations) are to be paid at no less than the prevailing minimum wage for up to forty work hours in a seven-day period. Any time worked over forty hours in a seven-day period must be paid at one-and-a-half times the employee’s regular hourly wage.

Key phrase: Any work

“Any work,” is defined as anything done to benefit the employer, whether or not the activity is described within a person’s job description.

Let’s say you’re an employer and you hold mandatory employee meetings of any kind every Wednesday during the lunch hour. You buy everyone pizza and have drinks available for everyone, but you don’t pay them for the lunch hour. Are you violating FLSA?

Oh, yeah.

The meeting, any meeting, especially any kind of meeting, party, whatever, you make mandatory is considered “work suffered” under FLSA and is compensable at the same rate as regular “work suffered”.  If that meeting time adds an extra hour to the forty everyone has already put in during your policy-defined workweek, then you owe all your non-exempt staff time-and-one-half pay for that extra hour.

Let’s say your office needs to be painted, but you don’t have painters budgeted for this year and you ask for volunteers to help you paint over the weekend. You’ll provide the food and soft drinks, they need only come dressed to get dirty. Do you owe these “volunteers” time-and-one-half?

You bet you do: though the work is done on the weekend, it’s still work, and under FLSA, it’s work “suffered” for the benefit of the company. Do you owe overtime for both Saturday and Sunday?

Maybe not: Whether you owe overtime for both days depends upon how your policy book defines your work-week. If your workweek is defined as Monday through Sunday, then, yes, you would owe two days’ worth of overtime. If your workweek is defined as Sunday through Saturday, then you would only owe overtime for Saturday, but still owe regular wages for Sunday.

Companies that require employees to come in early to punch in, make coffee, open up, or whatever, as well as those that require people to stay after hours to close up in any way, must also pay people for their time.

On-call time is also compensated at the same rate as regular work time. If on-call time exceeds the forty-hours in one week timeframe, then they, too, are paid at the premium rate.

. . . but, I can’t afford to pay overtime

Again, I say: Uncle Sam doesn’t care; and let me just add: tough. The rules are clear. They’ve been around for a long time. Since 1938, in fact. You have the Internet. As a fully-grown human, capable of owning a business – or at least running a business – you are expected to have done your “due diligence”.

In other words, the OFCCP, DoL, or any other investigating agency will not accept excuses for what you didn’t know you should know. (I know this, because my first HR job was with an employer who was audited by the OFCCP — two weeks after I started — and let’s just say my predecessors were all let go for good reason).

Is there any way around the rule?

Well, of course there is.

Sort of.

The best way to “get around” this rule is to work within the rule. If you know you must have weekly meetings, one thing you could do is hold the same meeting at least twice and stagger the attendants. This, way, the office stays open, but you will be short coverage for the length of the meeting.

If you must have full coverage, you could have the meeting after hours, as in, immediately after closing, one day a week, and then allow the same amount of time off during the same seven-day work period as the meeting to all non-exempt employees.  Exempt employees are not paid by the hour, so no other compensation is needed for them — money or time, unless specified in the company’s policies.

Key phrase: seven-day work period

Notice I’ve never denoted a pay-period. I’ve always described a seven-day period, and this is because FLSA dictates seven consecutive days as a work period.

If you want to grant a form of comp-time, it must be done the same week during which the extra activity occurs. Technically, this is not comp-time as defined by FLSA, so I always advise not to refer to this time off as “comp-time”. If you’re ever audited by the government, know that employees are always interviewed. Their phrasing and understanding can get you into trouble. Save yourself at the start, and take my advice: don’t ever call this time off “comp-time”.

What if I break the rules?

Well, it’ll cost you, regardless your intent. According to the DoL site, the penalties are:

“Employers who willfully or repeatedly violate the minimum wage or overtime pay requirements are subject to a civil money penalty of up to $1,000 for each such violation.

Willful violations of the FLSA may result in criminal prosecution and the violator fined up to $10,000. A second conviction may result in imprisonment.”

Yikes!

The audit process is not fun, though I guarantee you’ll learn A LOT. I know I did. If you’re interested, take a look at the process on the DoL site. It is every bit as grueling as it reads.

If you’re starting a business, learn the rules and follow them. Teach everyone the rules and their rights and responsibilities, even if everyone is non-exempt and has no supervisory role.

If you’ve already started your business and you know you are in violation in some way, change what you’re doing N-O-W. Note when you learned what you were supposed to do. Note each phase of your correction. Note when the total correction is in place. Keep these notes in a special notebook along with your new policy, any training material, and training proof. Never lose a shred of this notebook and make certain it’s the first thing you hand an auditor if, by any chance, you get audited.

What are the chances of an audit?

Well, from what I’ve been able to find, the DoL hired five hundred auditors to keep up with all the new businesses. When I contacted my local federal DoL auditor, she told me that it may take years for her to get to a business, but once she’s there, she’ll return every two years for the life of the company; because rules change, and people generally cannot keep up with every change. The government always needs money, and fines are a wonderful way to generate some extra cash.

For more information on different employee statuses, audits, and fines, speak to a local labor attorney or go on-line to www.dol.gov/wage & hour.

Disclaimer I am not a licensed attorney or certified accountant. My blogs are based on my own experiences, interviews (where credited), and loads of research.

Copyright © 2009 Diane Faulkner

COMP ME! Comp-time and you . . or not

Contract employee, independent contractor…(part 3 of 3)

When should I contract?

Well, if you know you want to have control over when and how work is done, as well as who does the work, then you should either hire an employee or do a temp-to-hire. Between the two, a temp-to-hire saves at least a contract’s worth of employment expenses, so if total cost is a factor, choose temp-to-hire, at least for non-managerial positions.

If you need to have specific skill sets and experience right away, a temp-to-hire is also less expensive if the contract is short enough. You have control over how work is done as well as a double-probationary period (the temp-time as well as your own period), which is plenty long enough to see if you have a good personality fit.

If you need a specific project completed that requires a specialized skill set not found in-house and not typically offered through an agency, then an independent contractor is the way to go. No employment costs, no unemployment costs, and you can terminate whenever you want for any reason.

Knowing the difference among these three classifications, should you ever have a government audit, can save your company thousands, if not millions, of dollars, and may even keep you in business. Many a company has felt the pinch of Uncle Sam to the tune of $10,000 as a flat fine for breaking the FLSA law and the additional $1000 for every other incident found during an audit.

For more information on different employee statuses, audits, and fines, speak to a local labor attorney or go on-line to www.dol.gov/wage & hour.

Disclaimer I am not a licensed attorney or certified accountant. My blogs are based on my own experiences, interviews (where credited), and loads of research.

Copyright © 2009 Diane Faulkner

Contract employee, independent contractor…(part 3 of 3)