Giving Back for the Holidays

The Christmas season is filled with opportunities to give back to the local community. The Trojan Labor offices in Charleston and North Charleston recently donated car seats for Giving Back Tuesdays and Charleston Halos. These car seats will protect a few of the smallest members of the Charleston community. All of us here at Trojan Labor are incredibly grateful for the opportunity to give back to the communities that we are a part of.

New Overtime Law Goes into Effect

The threshold for overtime pay will increase to $47,500.00 on December 1st. Currently, an employee making a salary of at least $23,660.00 can be classified as “exempt” and businesses do not have to pay them overtime.

Non exempt employees are required to receive time and a half pay for every hour they work over 40 hours in one week.  The Fair Labor Standards Act salary threshold increase will make many more employees that are currently exempt eligible for overtime unless their employers raise their salaries to the new threshold or above.

Companies will need to prepare for this law by anticipating higher payroll costs from overtime pay, increase employee salaries,  or make other adjustments to compensate.

Shop With A Cop

Trojan Labor in Denver, CO is a proud supporter of the “Shop with a Cop” event that is held by the Aurora Police Association. The annual program gives underprivileged kids in the Aurora area a chance to receive Christmas gifts, coats, and snow boots. Each child is given a $200 dollar gift certificate to buy their Christmas gifts while accompanied by a police officer from the Aurora Police Department. The Trojan Labor offices in Colorado are pleased to be able to support such a worthy cause. Every child deserves to have a wonderful Christmas and our hope is that the Shop with a Cop event allows that to happen in the Denver community.

 

shopwithacop

Independent Contractors

Time and time again business fall into the trap of believing they have an independent contractor providing work or services for them when, really, they have an employee.  Getting that determination wrong can have far reaching consequences in many areas, whether it be lack of withholding taxes, a requirement to bear the burden of unemployment benefits, unknown exposure to discrimination charges and wrongful termination cases, or consequences in many other areas that arise from an employer/employee relationship.
For whatever reason, business owners often believe that all they need to ensure the relationship is one of an independent contractor is a signed agreement.  While that is a good, and sometimes necessary first step, it does not go far enough.  Most states examine how the relationship actually plays out and apply a number of factors to make a determination.
The most important factor in almost every state is “control.”  Who controls the work?  Does the putative employer require the putative employee to be certain places at certain times to perform certain tasks?  Does the putative employer or putative employee decide how and when the work is to be done?  If it appears that the putative employer controls most aspects of the relationship, it is much more likely that there is an employer/employee relationship.
Other relevant questions include: who provides the tools to ensure the work can be completed? Is the putative employee paid by the hour or by the project?  Does the putative employee have its own company that provides services or are the services integrated into the putative employer’s business?  Does the putative employee provide services for other companies?  Is the work performed on the putative employer’s site or elsewhere?  Can the putative employee quit without ramifications or is there some sort of contractual liability for termination of the relationship?
There are many other factors that weigh in to the analysis. But with the ramifications being so far-reaching, it is worth a business owner’s time and effort to make sure the relationship is set up right.

Employment Situation Update

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, total non farm employment increased by 151,000 in 2015.

The number of people who are unemployed was relatively unchanged and the unemployment rate has been at 4.9% for the last three months. Over the last year, food and beverage positions have added 312,000 jobs. Jobs in construction, manufacturing, warehousing, etc have not changed a significant amount.

The Higher Quest Foundation Spotlight-Thailand

In 2007, the Higher Quest Foundation (sponsored by Trojan Labor and Acrux Staffing) completed their first fish farm project. The fish farm was built at Ban Meat Children’s village in Petchabun, Thailand. The children’s village is home to over 90 children and a school that feeds all of it’s students (who are children from the local community) a free lunch each day.

The farm was a huge  success. This past year they harvested thousands of kilos of fish that will provide the children and orphanage staff with delicious, protein filled meals.

The foundation’s first farm  set the foundation for all of the projects after it. With each successful farm, the foundation is one step closer to it’s goal of ending global hunger in a sustainable way.

To learn more about the Higher Quest Foundation, visit hqfoundation.org

21 States Sue to Block DoL’s New Overtime Rules.

On Tuesday, 21 states filed a lawsuit seeking to block the Department of Labor’s new mandatory overtime rules which sought to expand overtime payments to more than 4 million workers nationwide.  Hours later, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which was joined by other pro-business groups, filed a separate challenge in federal court.
The states and Chamber claim that the new rules, which will require employers to pay overtime to salaried workers earning less than $47,500 per year and are set to go into effect on December 1, would place an undue burden on employers and the states themselves.
For its part, the government has vowed to fight the lawsuit vigorously.  It will have to counter the main arguments set forth by the states: that the DoL abused its authority by increasing the salary threshold so drastically, and that it violated federal law by setting the threshold at the 40th percentile of income.
We will be watching developments in this lawsuit as they happen.  Check back for updates.

Protecting Workers from the Zika Virus

Zika has been a top story in the news for several months now. Carried by Mosquitos, the virus typically has mild symptoms for those infected, but can cause devastating birth defects in unborn children. In areas where Zika is spreading, outdoor workers can be especially vulnerable to acquiring the infection. Preventing Zika exposure is similar to preventing other mosquito borne illnesses. According to OSHA, here are some ways for outdoor workers to prevent Zika infection:

  • Use mosquito repellent when outdoors, especially one containing DEET
  • Standing water is a breeding ground for mosquitoes, so removing sources of stagnant water can reduce the numbers of mosquitoes which can in turn lower chances of infection
  • When working outside, wear long sleeve shirts and pants

According to the CDC, many people infected with Zika will not have symptoms or will only have mild symptoms which include a fever, rash,  conjunctivitis, muscle pain, and headache. However, because of the devastating effects on unborn babies, it is very important to minimize the spread of Zika virus.

Sign up for our Survivor Fantasy Football League

Football season is back which means it is time again for the Trojan Labor/Acrux Staffing Survivor Fantasy Football League. Each week the players that remain will log into our Survivor Fantasy Football League site and select a team that they have not previously chosen to win in their game that week. Deadline to log in each week is 5 minutes before the first game of the week. If the team you chose for that week wins, you continue on to the next week, but if the team you chose that week loses their game you are eliminated from the league.

First prize is three nights in one of our fabulous vacation retreats in either Beaver Creek, Colorado or Maggie Valley, North Carolina.  Second prize is a $100  gift card and third prize is a $50 dollar gift card. To see pictures of the vacation properties CLICK HERE

To sign up, please contact your local Trojan Labor or Acrux Staffing office or sales representative. Deadline to register is September 7th.

This contest is for customers only

 

 

 

Salaried Employees Time Off

Generally, an exempt “salaried employee,” one that meets the salary exemption and the “duties” test under the Fair Labor Standards Act, must receive full compensation for a week without regard to the number of days or hours worked in that week as long as they work at least some hours that week.

A key part of the salary exemption that a lot of people miss is the duties test.  Not only must employees be compensated at least the minimum salary required by the Department of Labor to be exempt, they must perform (1) executive, (2) professional, or (3) administrative job functions.
Assuming an employee meets both tests, there are seven exceptions to the full-week’s pay requirement:
(1) An exempt employee is absent from work for one or more full days for personal reasons, other than sickness or disability.  If they are absent for two full days, you can dock them two full days.  If they are absent for one and a half days, you can dock them for one day.
(2) Absences of one or more full days because of sickness or disability if the deduction is made in accordance with a true policy or practice of providing compensation for loss of salary because of sickness or disability.
(3) You cannot deduct for absences because of jury duty, attendance as a witness at trial, or temporary military leave, but you can offset the pay received because of those things.
(4) You can impose penalties for infractions of major safety rules.
(5) You can place someone on unpaid leave for disciplinary suspensions related to workplace conduct or violation of rules.  You can only do this pursuant to a written policy which must be applicable to all employees.
(6) You only have to pay the proportion of the week worked for the first and last week of work.
(7) You don’t have to pay for unpaid leave under the FMLA.  For example, if an employee usually works 40 hours, and they use 4 hours of unpaid leave under the FMLA, the employer can deduct 10 percent of their salary for that week.
These exceptions are very technical, and you should always consult an attorney before relying on any of them.  But used correctly, they are a cost saving tool for employers.