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Thread: Employer Provided Housing Arizona

  1. #1
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    Question Employer Provided Housing Arizona

    Where can I find descriptive detailed information on fair labor laws relating to the State of Arizona and employer provided housing?

    My employer has provided free lodging to two employees for years without rotation allowing other coworkers to take advantage of the free housing opportunity. Also, the reason for the employees receiving the housing is that they are on call 24hr for emergency situations that could occur, however they are not certified peace officers. I've been told by a state employee that my employer is violating a few fair labor laws.

    Thank you for your help!

  2. #2
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    This is definetely a question that cbg, DAW, Betty3 or many others will most likely be able to give you more direction on, but in the meantime I would consider looking at the

    http://www.dol.gov/

    or

    http://www.ica.state.az.us/

    I apologize that I cannot remember for the life of me where I have read about this recently. I trust some of the mods/super mods will be able to clarify where you can look, and possibly answer the question with more certainty than I can.
    Not everything in America is actionable in a court of law. Please remember that attorneys are in business for profit, and they get paid regardless of whether or not you win or lose.

    I offer my knowledge and experience at no charge, I admit that I am NOT infallible, I am wrong sometimes, hopefully another responder will correct me if that is the case with the answer above, regardless, it is your responsibility to verify any and all information provided.

  3. #3
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    Appreciate it! I have tried navigating those sites before, but I haven't come close to finding an answer. It's overwhelming My efforts have availed me little. I've tried many key words in my searches in my research, but no crumbs.

  4. #4
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    I have no experience with employer-provided housing so I will pass on this in favor of one of the payroll people or possibly our ace researcher, Betty.

    Sorry I can't help.

  5. #5
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    I can handle parts of the question, but maybe not the right parts. AZ is not my state, so punt on anything specific to AZ. CA is the only state that I have a good feel for.

    I know the IRS rules on the taxability of employer provided housing, but that did not seem to be what the OP was looking for. If it is, OP please say something.

    Past that, the only other issue was maybe discrimination, which is not my area of expertise.

    I am mostly unclear on just what type of answer the OP is looking for. Also, if the actual employer is governmental in nature, say something. That sometimes makes a difference.
    Last edited by DAW; 02-13-2010 at 03:14 PM.
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    I have no experience in employer-provided housing either. Maybe if the OP answers DAW's "questions" (ie just what type of answer OP is looking for & if government employer ...), we can go from there.
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    I'm sorry, it has been some time. I lost my account info.

    This employer is government and I am wanting to know if there has been a violation of some sort if only a select few employees are given free housing (everything covered). Is this not a form of wage?

  8. #8
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    I can answer part of that. If we are talking "is that a wage" only, and federal only, then to my knowledge, there is no governmental employer exception. IRS looks at why the housing is being given. For example, if you have a light house and someone has to be physically there to run the light house, you have a good argument that the housing is not taxable. The trick is that IRS is very hard ball on that exception. They tend to not take the employer's word for such things. IRS strongly feels that anything of value received by the employee is taxable wages, and that an employer saying that they "require" something is not by itself magic words. IBM can "require" their CEO to live in some ten million dollar mansion but likely as not, it is still taxable wages.

    Regarding discrimination, that is not IRS's issue per se. IRS is concerned with taxation and wage reporting, not discrimation. Depending on the exact nature of the discrimination (if any), there may be a governmental agency interested. Just not IRS.

    I can say that the rules for governmental employers are often very different then for private employers.
    "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away".
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    If what you are asking is if the employer must provide housing for all if they do so for some, the answer is no. Employers are not required to provide housing but may do so as they see fit, apart from any anti-discrimination laws. For example, only providing housing for men and not women without a sound business reason for doing so.
    I post with the full knowledge and support of my employer, though the opinions rendered are my own and not necessarily representative of their position. In other words, I'm a free agent.

  10. #10
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    Agree with Elle. My field (community mental health--residential programs for disabled adults) does this all the time. I have colleagues in many states whose companies, like mine, offer live-in positions. These folks often get free rent, and usually utilities, in return for being on-call overnights and on weekends.

    It is not "discrimination" to only offer free housing to employees hired specifically for a live-in position. The live-in position is different from a non-live-in position. "Position in the company" is not a protected class. As long as you aren't choosing people for those positions based on a protected class, like "We really prefer to have males as live-in counselors rather than females," then it's fine.

    You could never say "if the company/government entity offers housing to a few live-in employees, they must offer it to all employees" any more than you could say "if you pay a VP $200,000, you have to pay everyone else $200,000."

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