Category Archives: HR


The New Overtime Rule 2016

overtime rule

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) published monumental changes to the overtime rule that will make approximately 4.2 million currently exempt employees eligible for overtime pay later this year.

The DOL has issued its long-awaited Final Rule that will make it harder for many workers to be qualify for the overtime exemption.

This rule goes into effect Dec. 1, 2016.

FLSA New vs Old Overtime Rule

The key provisions include:

  • Raises the salary threshold for overtime exempt status from $455 a week to $913 a week ($47,476 per year)
  • Increases the threshold to qualify for the “highly compensated employee” exemption from $100,000 to $134,004 per year
  • The salary threshold will be adjusted every 3 years, beginning January 1, 2020, based on census data
  • For the first time, employers can use non-discretionary bonuses and incentive payments (including commissions) to satisfy up to 10% of the standard salary test.  To qualify for this credit, the non-discretionary payments must be paid on a quarterly or more frequent basis and employers can make a “catch-up” payment if an employee doesn’t earn enough non-discretionary payments in a given quarter to meet the standard salary level test.

Notably, the final rule does not change any of the existing job requirements to qualify for an exemption.

What to do…

Identify current exempt employees who will lose exempt status based on the increased salary threshold (anyone earning under $47,476) and either reclassify these employees as non-exempt or raise their salary/non-discretionary compensation to meet the new salary test.

With changes coming to the Wage and Hour landscape, now is the time for employers to analyze the classification of each exempt employee and independent contractors. This will go a long way in avoiding huge headaches and penalties. Employers need to start preparing now by reviewing employee classifications and job descriptions, and consider how their pay systems could be affected if many of their exempt employees become hourly or if independent contractors are deemed employees.

We are available to assist you navigate this new rule and ensure your organization is in compliance.

Summer Interns – Are You Sure?

Summer is quickly approaching, for some people that means summer intern season! If your company is planning on engaging an intern, or would like to but are concerned about the regulations, read further for some tips and guidelines to help keep you in compliance.

So, how can you determine whether your intern is really an intern or an actual employee? Well, the FLSA (Fair Labor Standards Act, which regulate wage and hour issues) has no practical definition of “employee”, what it does define is the word “employ”; including the words “suffer or permit to work”. Suffer or permit to work means that if an employer requires or allows employees to work they are employed and the time spent is probably hours worked. This standard has recently been very narrowly interpreted by the DOL (Department of Labor), and in a number of high profile cases, some large companies have ended up owing wages to interns.

What do you do if you want to engage interns and still stay in compliance? Here are some tips:

  • The internship, even though it includes actual operation of the facilities of the employer, is similar in training which would be given in an educational environment.
  • The intern does not displace regular employees, but works under close supervision of existing staff.
  • The employer that provides the training derives no immediate advantage from the activities of the intern, and on occasion its operation may actually be impeded.
  • The employer and the intern understand that the intern is not entitled to wages for the time spent in the internship.
  • The trainee works for his or her own benefits to learn a profession or vocation with adequate supervision and instruction from the company.
  • The company should not derive the primary benefit of the work performed by the intern.
  • The trainee should not displace any paid employees.

The most important of these tips is the last three. If any of those factors are missing, the DOL will most likely classify the person as an employee.

The issue of how to classify employees – as interns and as independent contractors – has garnered a lot of attention in the last few years. These issues are going to continue to be a big source of concern for the DOL and for employers. If you really aren’t sure about whether that college student is an intern or not – your best bet is to pay them minimum wage. It is less expensive than a full-time employee and far less expensive than a lawsuit. If you have any questions, or need help assessing your employee classifcations, give us a call or send an email. We are here to help!

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. What does that mean for employers? There are things that employers can do to help recognize and support employees who may be victims of domestic violence.images (2)

You may think that domestic violence doesn’t affect you, but when nearly 20 people per minute are victims of physical violence, chances are it is affecting someone you know. If you think it doesn’t have anything to do with your workplace, when victims of intimate partner violence lose a total of 8 million days of paid work each year, or that between 2003 and 2008, 142 women were murdered in their workplace as a result of intimate partner violence, than you see that domestic violence affects us all.

According to the Center for Disease Control, domestic violence affects millions of Americans; women and men, gay, straight, old and young. Domestic violence, or Intimate Partner Violence, as it is sometimes known, is a worldwide epidemic. Although it is a problem that is seen as largely a problem in the home, there are things as an employer that you can do to help.

The first thing you should do is create a policy. Having a policy in place can help guide you if a situation should arise.

If you suspect that an employee is the victim of domestic violence, what should you do? Here are some helpful tips:

  • Make sure you are getting facts, not rumors or gossip. Basing assumptions on unfounded rumor is not helpful to you or the possible victim.
  • Speak to the employee privately. Don’t accuse, don’t pressure and don’t assume. There is an excellent video on how to talk to an employee whom you suspect is a victim here.
  • Convey the message “You do not deserve this violence”.
  • Provide a list of community-based services.
  • Address any immediate safety concerns for your employees and the workplace. Consult the victim, your security personnel, legal counsel, and/or law enforcement if necessary.
  • Let the victim know that their issues will be considered confidential, and kept as private as possible.

It is possible to create a culture where violence is not tolerated, and all individuals have the right to live free of fear. We are all responsible for the creation and propagation of this culture, and the workplace is as good a place as any to start. If you need help with policies, or assistance in dealing with a possible victim of perpetrator of domestic violence, please give us a call or send us an email. We are here to help.