Category Archives: Wage and Hour Issues

Quirky Question #242 – Policing Break and Time Records Pays Off


We are a California employer.   After all the publicity surrounding class actions over meal and break periods, we instituted automatic warnings if employees take too long or too short a meal or rest break. Is anyone really enforcing this kind of discipline or are we wasting our time? Answer→

Quirky Question #235, Payment of Wages – Better Late Than Never Is Half Right


My company was in a tight spot last month with cash flow and we had to delay payroll by a few days. We did end up paying everyone what they were owed. I now have an employee, however, who is claiming the late payment violated her rights and that we owe her more money. We paid her all the wages she was owed, just a few days late – is it possible we owe her more? Answer→

Quirky Question #233, The Regular Rate: Where Math and Law Collide


We operate a warehouse in Minnesota where the employees work two weeks on / two weeks off. They work 10 hours per day, 7 days per week when they’re on at an hourly rate of $30. The employees also ordinarily receive a non-discretionary year-end bonus of 10% of total compensation, which is meant to compensate them both for their work and for their having to deal with such a crazy schedule.

The employees don’t like the swings in their pay from big checks to zero based on the on/off pay periods. We would like to make the employees salaried non-exempt in order to even out their pay, but we don’t want to change their total compensation in any meaningful way.

Can you explain how to figure this out? Answer→

Quirky Question #231, Is it Really Employee Appreciation if the Gift Card is Taxable?


Our company awards prizes at holiday parties and, from-time-to-time, at employee appreciation events.  The prizes range from company logo t-shirts to $50 gift cards and cameras worth about $125.  Do we need to report any of these items as compensation on Form W-2 for the employees who win these prizes? Answer→

Quirky Question #230, Accommodating Nursing Mothers


We are a large Minnesota employer and we have a non-exempt employee who is asking for breaks to express her breast milk multiple times every day, and each break takes a long time. We let her do so in her office, and she tapes a “not available” note across the window on her office door, but the door doesn’t lock. I know we don’t need to pay her while she’s on these breaks, but productivity in the office is suffering, as other employees are being forced to wait for her to complete her tasks. Can we put some limits on this? Answer→

Quirky Question # 224, The De Minimis Defense to Off the Clock Work Claims


We have an employee who is claiming that he should be paid for time cleaning up his work station after logging out of our electronic time keeping system each night.  Literally, he spends one or two minutes straightening his piles of paper and on other trivial similar tasks.  Another company HR representative said that every minute an employee spends on any tasks must be paid for.  We have offices on the West Coast including California.  Do we really have to pay him for this time? Answer→