Foodservice Equipment Reports

A Checklist For Election Day

This is the last FER Fortnightly before Election Day on November 8. So, during what could prove a long two weeks, we offer readers a quick glance at some ongoing issues that anyone working in any sector of commercial or non-commercial foodservice might want to consider when they head to the polls.

Labor Regulations

In December, the number of workers eligible for overtime pay will expand exponentially due to new rules set out in May by the Labor Department. Employees who earn $47,476 or less per year will be eligible for overtime, nearly double the previous threshold of $24,000. It could affect thousands of management staff who previously were salaried.

Restaurant companies also see another regulatory threat by way of the National Labor Relations Board’s ruling on joint employers. In determining last year that companies are liable for labor violations from their contractors, the agency reversed conventional wisdom on the legal separation between franchisors and franchisees. Some have predicted the changing attitude could prompt quick-service chains to either wield increased control over franchisees or walk away from franchise agreements altogether.

Minimum Wage

The federal minimum wage remains set at $7.25, but 29 states have minimum wages on the books, and another 29 cities or counties have pushed the legal wage floor up higher than their state minimums. The federal government has yet to thrust itself into the debate, but California, the nation’s most populous state in both people and in restaurants, may be setting the trend in wages and benefits. The Golden State has a minimum hourly wage of $10, while San Francisco’s $13-an-hour minimum wage will reach $15 by 2018, and Los Angeles’s will be $15 by 2020. California also requires mandatory sick leave for all workers, and makes employers liable in civil court for wage or workers compensation violations—even when temporary workers are hired through a contractor.

Tax Reform

The current Congress has been unable to agree with the Obama Administration on just about any topic, but both presidential candidates have promised tax reform. Their platforms range from across-the-board tax cuts paid for by reducing or eliminating deductions and loopholes for the rich, or by adding new taxes on millionaires and billionaires while simplifying and cutting taxes for small businesses.

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