Wednesday, August 17, 2016

At Least They Gave Us a Little Time

Amy Dillman
Your ILSHRM Communications Director
and attendee of ILSHRM16!

When the Department of Labor released new regulations regarding the overtime provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) on May 18th, the HR World felt the shockwaves.  The changes were significant, staring with the new salary threshold of $47,476.  If any of you were like me, we began producing reports, counting the numbers of impacted, exempt employees under the salary threshold and determining effect of budgets, overtime, and considering potential wage increases. We jump into action because before I can even finish my Excel formulas, I have directors at my door, on my email and ringing my phone.

SHRM was ready too. Did you search their site for information, articles and webinars? I did. They were a great source of information! They explained in their May 18th government affairs update the key elements to the new regulation:

1.    Salary Threshold Changed to $913/week ($47,476 per Year)
This threshold doubles the current salary threshold level. While this level is slightly lower than the threshold in the proposed rule, it still encompasses many employees that are currently classified as exempt. SHRM was disappointed that DOL did not offer a more reasonable increase and set the threshold, as it has in the past, at a level designed to encompass those employees that are clearly not engaged in exempt-type work.

2.    Automatic Salary Threshold Increases Every 3 Years (Not Annually) to Maintain Level at 40th Percentile in Lowest-Wage Census Region
DOL reduced the frequency of the automatic increases in response to concerns raised by SHRM and others. Instead of annual increases, the threshold will be adjusted every 3 years to maintain the level at the 40th percentile of full-time salaried workers in the lowest-wage Census region. Automatically updating the salary threshold, however, does not allow the government to take into account changing economic conditions, specific impact on certain industries, or regional differences. It also denies the public the ability to have input on the threshold as required by the regulatory process.

3.    Duties Test is Unchanged
The absence of a duties test change is a significant win for the thousands of SHRM members who expressed concern in this area. DOL did not make changes to the standard duties test.

4.    Effective Date is December 1, 2016.
SHRM advocated for a longer implementation period than the standard 60 days and the final rule provides additional time for employers to prepare. With the rule going into effect on December 1, 2016, HR professionals should review their current workforce immediately to determine which employees are affected, whether to re-classify those employees, and execute a communications strategy. HR should keep in mind the periodic adjustments and set a regular review process.

5.    Highly Compensated Employee (HCE) Exemption Is Now $134,004 Per Year
The final rule retains the methodology in the proposed rule setting the threshold at the 90th percentile of full-time salaried workers nationally.

I, and I hope you, have a firm understanding of the new requirements. Now, the work begins. New training on time sheets, new data management tools to track financial impact for future adjustments, developing an educational pipeline to managers and employees, writing new internal policies and changing payroll records and codes, leading efforts to minimize cultural and morale damage, and more.

At least the DOL gave us a little time - and we can discuss it together at #ILSHRM16 in related sessions!

See you at the conference and when I come up for air on December 2.

Are you prepared for the FLSA changes? Make sure you aren’t missing anything by attending #ILSHRM16. Register today at ILSHRM16