Posts Tagged "low-wage workers"
January 31, 2023
Employers Routinely Avoid Paying Overtime
Walk into a restaurant, retail store or hotel, and you might encounter a manager who seems to be doing the same tasks as the people he’s managing. Maybe you’re in one of those jobs.
A lawsuit by employees against a retail store revealed how meaningless the title of manager can be: the store managers were “stocking shelves, running cash registers, unloading trucks and cleaning parking lots, floors and bathrooms.” Hardly the types of responsibilities that go with overseeing one’s coworkers.
The employees were suing for overtime pay under a Depression-era federal law to receive back pay for overtime when they worked more than 40 hours per week.
Employers are exempt from paying overtime under this rule, however, if the employee is a manager earning more than $35,568 per year, rather than an hourly wage. One last requirement to qualify for the overtime exemption is that employers must give the worker executive or administrative duties that include supervising others on the job.
To satisfy the amorphous definition of who qualifies as a manager, new research finds that U.S. employers are much more likely to come up with creative, “fake-sounding” managerial titles – bingo manager, food-cart manager, director of first impressions, carpet-shampoo manager, and lead shower-door installer – for jobs paying just above the overtime pay threshold.
Employers “strategically use job titles to exploit regulatory [pay] thresholds,” which saves more than 13 percent for each manager who qualifies as exempt from the overtime rule, said the researchers, who include a Harvard Business School professor. The practice is “systematic” and saves U.S. employers some $4 billion in payroll costs every year.
The situation for workers used to be worse, however. Millions more became eligible for overtime pay when the pay threshold was increased 50 percent, to $684 per week – or $35,568 per year – in January 2020, from the $455 per week rate in place at the time of this study. …Learn More
March 17, 2020
Privilege in the Age of the Coronavirus
I appreciate how privileged my husband and I are that we are able to remain in our home, where we feel fairly safe.
He is a retired Boston high school teacher. I have a good job that also provides me with some degree of flexibility when needed, and my boss didn’t resist, because of my autoimmune condition, when I asked to work at home early last week.
A young couple in my condo building with a new baby fled last weekend to a relative’s house in rural Connecticut, where the husband will be able to telecommute to his high-paying job in Boston.
Yes, our 401(k)s are getting pummeled. But this national crisis is immediate and far more consequential for the millions of Americans who must work even in a pandemic. Workers have two concerns, and they are intertwined: health and money.
Think about the first responders, service-industry workers, or post office employees who are in contact with the public, constantly exposing themselves and, as a result, their families to the coronavirus.
Low-income people are also very vulnerable. Research shows that they are less healthy for reasons ranging from less access to employer health insurance to higher rates of smoking and obesity. Diabetes is more pervasive in low-income populations too.
Yet public health officials tell us that people with underlying conditions are far more vulnerable to getting seriously ill if they contract the virus – and these are the same people who usually don’t have the luxury to telecommute. Many low-income workers also live in crowded conditions, often with older relatives in fragile health.
Many workers are grappling with the realization that the economy is starting to slow down – and they will be the first to feel it. Consider the cleaning ladies or dog walkers whose clients are asking them not to come to the house this week or the servers at the restaurants shutting down in Manhattan, Massachusetts, Illinois, and across the nation. …Learn More