I have blogged about some USDOL initiatives of late and see they are picking up some momentum with further developments coming down the line. The agency is going to revise the manner in which overtime is calculated (maybe to the employer’s benefit) and speak more on the issue (thorny as it is) of inclusion of bonuses in the regular rate.
There are other forms of “compensation” for employees, such as employee discounts and referral fees. The issue of whether these items are includible in the regular rate may also be opined about. As I blogged about, the regulatory Agenda specifically stated that it would “clarify, update, and define regular rate requirements.” No other details have been forthcoming.
There is consensus that the new regulations would establish new groups of payment that may be excludible from the regular rate for overtime which businesses would welcome. There are any number of non-economic incentives and “payments” that are not directly amenable to computation and should (or should not) be includible.
Mr. Alexander Passantino, a former Wage-Hour Division Chief has observed that “it would be nice to have more guidance on what you’re talking about there so that we could give clients more advice on that with more certainty. Clients come up with good ideas on how they want to reward employees. It’s just helpful to say, ‘Yeah, that’s going to impact overtime rate,’ or, ‘no, it’s not.’”
I agree with that sentiment. Employers want to comply with the law and often times have difficulty in properly interpreting what the FLSA does/does not command. We will see what happens to the definition of the “regular rate” and what items it will/will not include.
I can’t wait… .