Independent Contractor vs Employee–Another Round

In the never ending battle between classifying an worker as an independent contractor or as an employee, the state of Alabama has weighed into the ring.  Officials of the U.S.  Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division and the Alabama Department of Labor have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to protect the rights of employees by preventing their misclassification as something other than an employee–such as an independent contractor.  This MOU represents a new effort on the part of the agencies to work together to protect not only the workers’ rights but those of the employers who follow the regulations but may be undermined economically by employers who do not. This MOU is only the latest in a long string of 15 MOUs between the states and the DOL with the goal of preventing, detecting and remedying employee misclassification.  States that have signed an MOU with the DOL include California, Colorado, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, New York, Utah and Washington.  For more information check out the Wage and Hour Division’s webpage on Employee Misclassification as Independent Contractors.

Even the USCIS Has Widgets and Webinars!

It appears everybody is getting into the widget and webinars craze even the USCIS! The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has released two new tools for employers.  The Department has released a downloadable Form I-9 Desktop Widget that allows employers to automatically launch the Form I-9 from their desktop at any time.   The Form I-9 Desktop Widget benefits include:

  • Quick access to the current version of the Form I-9
  • Quick access to learn about E-Verify
  • Quick Access to Form I-9 and E-Verify free webinars schedule

The widget is available on the USCIS website.

The Department is also offering it’s first Form I-9 Webinar on Demand.  Now you can watch the free Form I-9 webinar at any time. Choose the chapters of your choice or watch the entire 22 minute video in one sitting.  You will see how to complete Sections 1, 2 and 3, best practices and much more.  It is a great training tool.

The video is available on the USCIS website

Minimum Wage Is on the Move!

The minimum wage, whether federal or state, is one of those items that is basic to payroll.  Right now it is really on the move and heading upwards! Some of the upward mobility is due to previous legislation kicking in for 2015 while others are leaving it up to the voters in the November elections.  A few of the increases due to previous legislation include Montana going to $8.05 per hour and Connecticut increasing to $9.00 per hour. Both are effective January 1.  New York will increase to $8.75 on December 31, 2014.

Just a reminder at least 11 states tie their minimum wage to the consumer price index including Arizona, Colorado, New Jersey Ohio and Washington.  These states will be announcing their rates for 2015 sometime in October or November.

Still other states are putting the matter to the voters on whether or not to increase the minimum wage.  States voting this November 4th to increase the minimum wage include Alaska, Arkansas, Illinois, Nebraska, and South Dakota.

Payroll is becoming political and payroll professionals need to watch elections closely to ensure compliance.