" writeme += "

" writeme += "" writeme += "" writeme += "" writeme += "

" playme.document.write(writeme); playme.document.close(); if((navigator.appName == "Netscape") && (navigator.appVersion.substring(0,1) >= "3")) {playme.focus();} if((navigator.appName == "Microsoft Internet Explorer") && (navigator.appVersion.substring(0,1) >= "4")) {playme.focus();} if (playme.opener == null) { playme.opener = self; } } function play(vid,neth,netl,realh,reall) { var cm=GetCookie("playbar"); if (cm != null) { //if (cm=="nh" && neth=="t") { cm="hi.asx"; //if(aol||nstr||iebug) { //} else { // showvid('asf',vid+cm); //} } else { if (cm=="nh" && neth!="t") { this.sec=1; pbw(vid,neth,netl,realh,reall); } } if (cm=="nl" && netl=="t") { cm="lo.asx"; //if(aol||nstr||iebug) { //} else { // showvid('asf',vid+cm); //} } else { if (cm=="nl" && netl!="t") { this.sec=1; pbw(vid,neth,netl,realh,reall); } } if (cm=="rh" && realh=="t") { cm="hi.rmm"; if(aol||iebug) { } else { showvid('rm',vid+cm); } } else { if (cm=="rh" && realh!="t") { this.sec=2; pbw(vid,neth,netl,realh,reall); } } if (cm=="rl" && reall=="t") { cm="lo.rmm"; if(aol||iebug) { } else { showvid('rm',vid+cm); } } else { if (cm=="rl" && reall!="t") { this.sec=2; pbw(vid,neth,netl,realh,reall); } } } window.onerror = MSIE; // -->

Fri, May 19, 2000
real time quotes your portfolio registration help
biz bulletin
Top Performers
Top Perfomers
  Stock of the Day
Tip of the Day
Launch Live Ticker
Fox News Home

Indices Chart
Click on index
for more information
  Fox Market Wire Forums:
Discuss This Story!


Labor Department Under Fire Again, This Time Over Stock Options for Hourly Workers
By Alice Ann Love   Associated Press
WASHINGTON — The Labor Department, already under pressure over a ruling on safety for at-home workers, came under fire again Tuesday for telling a company it must figure stock options into worker's overtime pay rate.

Department officials rushed to provide a same-day response to complaints Tuesday by Washington-based LPA Inc., an association of corporate human resources executives, which said the guidance could discourage companies from offering stock options to lower-level employees.

The department said the guidance letter, written in February 1999, had been tailored to a specific circumstances presented by one company.

"There are (other) circumstances under which stock option programs would not need to be included when calculating overtime," said a letter to LPA from Employment Standards Administration Wage and Hour Division Administrator T. Michael Kerr.

Kerr's letter did not elaborate, but invited LPA officials to meet with him to discuss the matter.

It was the second time in two weeks that the Labor Department has faced criticism for advice given to one company in guidance letters that are routinely publicly released and consulted by others.

Last week, in a controversy that lawmakers have promised to follow up with an investigation, the department withdrew a letter that told a Texas credit services firm that companies have the same safety responsibilities for employees working at home as in the office.

The stock option guidance letter responded to an unidentified corporate attorney's questions about a hypothetical stock option plan.

Workers included in the hypothetical plan would be able to choose to buy 100 shares of their company's stock at a preset price any time during a five-year period.

Labor Department officials said that under such a scenario, the company should treat the stock options as part of the worker's normal compensation — not a special bonus or profit-sharing plan. That would mean a higher base pay for the worker and therefore a higher overtime rate.

LPA, in a written complaint sent to Labor Secretary Alexis Herman, noted that a growing number of companies offering similar stock option plans to hourly wage workers don't currently count them as normal compensation.

"We recently circulated the letter among our members and those who provide such options to nonexempt (from overtime) employees are very upset with the opinion," said president Jeffrey McGuiness in LPA's complaint.

More Marketwire More MarketWire News Top of Page

© 2000, News Digital Media, Inc. d/b/a Fox News Online
All rights reserved. Fox News is a registered trademark of 20th Century Fox Film Corp.
Data from Thomson Financial Interactive is subject to the following Privacy Statement

© 2000 Associated Press. All rights reserved.
This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.