“After making stops at Canadian ports, the Draken’s crew was told by Coast Guard officials last week that if [the meticulously restored Norwegian Viking craft] wanted to sail through the Great Lakes, it had to hire a certified pilot, paid at an hourly rate that would amount to about $400,000 by the trip’s end. If unable to pay, the vessel would be forced to turn back.” The Coast Guard mandates what must be paid to pilots on the Great Lakes and recently raised its target compensation “to about $326,000 a year…unlike in Canada, the American regulations offer no exemption based on tonnage or size.” [Mike McPhate, New York Times]
“Bronx ‘professional plaintiff’ has worked for 11 companies since 2007 and has sued every single one” [New York Post] “Maor’s [wage-and-hour] suits have all been filed as class actions in which he sought damages on behalf of himself and up to 450-plus co-workers at a time.”
- “President Obama says there is ‘no solid evidence’ [that higher minimum wages kill jobs]. Yes there is — lots of it.” [Tyler Cowen channeling David Neumark etc.] “The minimum wage arose in the early 20th century as a Progressive policy designed to [harm] low-wage workers,” and it worked [Deirdre McCloskey]
- “The car wash industry: a case study of how the $15 minimum wage will destroy immigrant jobs” [Jim Epstein, Reason] “Weak Enforcement Will Blunt the Impact of New York’s $15 Minimum Wage” [same] District of Columbia jumps with its own $15 law [Charles Hughes, Cato]
- Ugly Betty, stranded in Queens? New overtime edict could cut off entry-level jobs in fields like fashion journalism [New York Times] New overtime regs draw fire from one left-leaning group whose own paid canvassing operations are affected, PIRG (Public Interest Research Group);
- New York attorney general, in legal action, seeks to hold Domino’s liable for franchisees’ alleged wage underpayment [Reuters]
- Millions of workers had better get used to time sheets or corresponding apps from now on [Bill Pokorny, SHRM via Steve Miller on Twitter] Travel time will make an added complication [Daniel Schwartz] A “‘deer-in-the-headlights moment’ for small businesses” [Akin Oyedele, Business Insider]
- Will Republicans in Congress block the overtime rule? [Connor Wolf, Daily Caller] Or will Congress take the less principled step of merely exempting itself? [Veronique de Rugy, earlier]
Welcome to Thomas Perez’s new on-the-clock white-collar workplace, in which employers will be under the legal gun to monitor lunch breaks, revoke permission to telecommute, disallow “comp time” setups allowing a day with the kids, and forbid email or company-cellphone use after business hours. I’ve got a link-heavy new post at Cato surveying the damage after the Department of Labor’s final adoption of its new overtime rules, much criticized already in this space. The press is already reporting on the business consequences.
- Los Angeles hotel workers catching on to real intent of city ordinance carving out sub-minimum wage at unionized employers [Scott Shackford, Reason, earlier] “Why Sports Authority is throwing in the towel and closing all of its stores” [Kevin Smith, San Gabriel Valley Tribune/Pasadena Star-News]
- “France might pass a law that makes it illegal to send after-hours work emails” [Washington Post]
- Boiled at slightly lower temperature: DoL considering knocking down salary threshold a bit, $47,000 rather than $50,440, for its awful upcoming overtime mandate [Jon Hyman; video from Partnership to Protect Workplace Opportunity, group critical of regs; earlier here, etc.]
- “Eleventh Circuit Reins in NLRB’s Mischaracterization of Independent Contractors as ‘Employees'” [John Park, Washington Legal Foundation]
- “Relax Everyone: NELP’s New Report Says The Minimum Wage Doesn’t Cost Jobs” [Tim Worstall] “The Economic Denialism of a $15 Minimum Wage” [John McGinnis; Chris Edwards/Cato] David Henderson scrutinizes work by left-wing Berkeley economist Michael Reich backing $15 minimum [EconLog]
- Idea of abolishing the tip system, pushed by some labor activists and eyed as a fallback by businesses tied up in wage law knots, meets with huge resistance from restaurant staff in U.S. [NPR]
- “Hillary Clinton Just Turned the Democratic Party Into the Party of the $15 an Hour Minimum Wage” [Peter Suderman]
- Finally, Republicans introduce bill to stop Obama’s overtime edict [SHRM, Connor Wolf, Veronique de Rugy] “Congress realizes new overtime rules stink” at least as applied to themselves [Suzanne Lucas, Evil HR Lady, earlier] Knowing whether you’re in FLSA compliance can be tricky enough to fool HR specialists [Eric Meyer]
- “German army forced to lay down weapons due to ‘overtime limits'” [Telegraph, U.K.]
- “Minimum Wage Hike Kills Popular Upstate NY Eatery” [Legal Insurrection] “Please don’t be the reason the future of our farm ends here and now” [WENY, upstate New York]
- “How raising the minimum wage hurts disabled workers” [Naomi Schaefer Riley, Philanthropy Daily] Maryland moves to end exception that allowed workshop programs for the disabled to pay subminimum wages, and if clients sit at home as a result, at least they’ll have their rights on [Capital News Service]
- Proposed D.C. ordinance restricting “predictive scheduling” of employee hours would snarl retail and restaurant operations [E. Faye Williams, Huff Post]
- “Economically, minimum wages may not make sense,” said Calif. Gov. Jerry Brown, and then proceeded to sign the bill [Scott Shackford, Reason] “UC Berkeley Touts $15 Minimum Wage Law, Then Fires Hundreds Of Workers After It Passes” [Investors Business Daily]
At Workforce.com, attorney/blogger Jon Hyman, often linked in this space, follows up on the Mercatus Center report on the high cost of the Obama administration edict ordering overtime for mid-level salaried workers. He writes:
I’d like to focus on one such unintended consequence — lack of workplace flexibility.
From the report:
If employers are forced to record and measure employee hours, they will shift away from allowing employees to telecommute because the cost of monitoring hours for telecommuting is significantly higher, although not impossible given new technologies. The proposed regulation would create a scenario whereby telecommuters have an incentive to work overtime because they would get paid 1.5 times the regular rate and, knowing this, employers have an incentive to make sure employees do not work overtime. A mechanism will be needed by which the employer is able to track the work hours of employees such that the employer knows when an employee is working overtime. Showing up at work and clocking in is the mechanism by which employers normally track employees’ hours. With telecommuting, it is difficult for an employer to track the number of hours worked. As a result, employers may require telecommuters to start physically showing up for work so that they to track and monitor the number of hours these employees work.
Employees like being exempt. They like the flexibility of not having to track their hours. They like the flexibility that comes with a salary that compensates an employee for all hours worked in week, whether it’s 30 hours this week, or 65 hours next week, or 47 hours the week after. The new regulations will strip 5 million employees of this flexibility and convert them to time trackers. Does this change benefit employees? I bet if you polled the 5 million, you’d find that most would prefer to keep their flexibility instead of trading it in for whatever minimal additional compensation (if any) they expect to recover from a switch to non-exempt.
Well, isn’t this a shame:
Brad Fitch, president and CEO of the Congressional Management Foundation, told Bloomberg BNA Feb. 16 that House “Democratic chiefs of staff are freaking out” about finding room in their budget for overtime wages.
It’s not clear whether the Obama administration’s forthcoming edict on overtime will apply to legislative staffers, but House Democratic leadership decided it would be prudent for their members to at least gesture toward the spirit of the controversial rule by preparing for compliance. [BNA Daily Labor Report] Now “the rule is creating administrative headaches” and more:
“We don’t have a set-hour kind of situation here; some kids work 12, 14, 16 hours a day, weekends, and I feel terrible that I cannot afford to give raises to the staff,” Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-Fla.) told Bloomberg BNA Feb. 11.
With $320,000 slashed from members’ representational allowances (MRAs) over the past four years, “I don’t see how we could pay overtime” for the “17 or 18 people that each of us is allowed to have—that’s problematic for me,” added Hastings, a senior member of the House Rules Committee.
Some members fear that an overtime mandate will result in having to send staffers home at 5 p.m., leaving phones unanswered and impairing constituent service. “Most members are of the sentiment that it’s impractical to be paying overtime,” said former Virginia Democratic Rep. Jim Moran, now a lobbyist, who suggests that members choose to close one of their district offices or reduce constituent correspondence to adjust to a smaller staff number.
In the bonbon box of schadenfreude, this is one of the ones I would save to eat last.