- OSHA poster
- EEO is the Law
- Employee Right for Workers with Disabilities
- Your Rights Under the FMLA
- Your Rights under the Uniformed Services Employment & Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA)
- Employee Polygraph Protection Act (EPPA)
Today the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) released new rules dramatically increasing the new minimum salary level for the executive, administrative, and professional employee exemptions (salaried employees) under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) to $913 per week, or $47,476 per year. This new salary threshold—which will become effective on December 1, 2016—more than doubles the current minimum salary level of $455 per week, or $23,660 per year, and will have a dramatic impact on employers.
The new salary requirements will apply to the salaried employees you have in executive, administrative, and professional exemptions. Employees who do not meet the new salary requirements (those who do not make at least $913 weekly) when the final regulations become effective will no longer qualify for one of these exemptions, which means they will have to be paid overtime compensation when they work more than 40 hours in a workweek.
Other major highlights from the final regulations include the following:
- Increase to the total annual compensation requirement for highly compensated employees from $100,000 to $134,004 per year.
- Future automatic updates to the above thresholds will occur every three years, beginning January 1, 2020.
- The salary basis test is amended to allow the use of nondiscretionary bonuses and incentive payments (including commissions) to satisfy up to 10 percent of the new standard salary level.
The final regulations will become effective on Thursday, December 1, 2016.
How Can Organizations Prepare?
Determine Who Needs to Be Reclassified
Employees who are currently classified as overtime-exempt (salaried) may need to be reclassified as nonexempt under the new regulations, especially if they:
- Earn less than $50,000 a year
- Hold the same position occupied by many other employees in the company; or
- Work in jobs as accountants, assistant managers, sales and sales support workers, help desk employees, customer service representatives, technicians and business analysts.
Develop a New Compensation Plan for Reclassified Employees
Employers should compare the cost of giving raises to employees who are currently exempt but make less than $50,000 per year against the cost of reclassifying those employees as nonexempt and paying them overtime, given the number of hours those employees are currently working. Another option is a cost-neutral solution under which hourly pay is set at a rate will result in the same weekly compensation as the formerly exempt employee’s salary. This only works if an employer can accurately estimate how many hours per week a reclassified employee will work.
Review Wage and Hour Policies and Processes
If exempt employees are reclassified as nonexempt, it is crucial to implement timekeeping processes. The time worked by nonexempt employees must be accurately tracked and documented. Employers should also adopt policies on unauthorized overtime work, meal and rest breaks, travel time and mobile device usage.
Employers should develop a strategy for communicating any changes in classifications, policies or procedures to employees. Identify who will deliver the news, when the news will be delivered, and the format in which the news will be delivered.
Train the Reclassified Employees and Their Managers
You might have employees who have been exempt forever, and all of a sudden you have to start tracking their time, or managers who never managed hourly employees. Supervisors and managers need to know what constitutes "working time", and employees need to know what the company’s policy is regarding overtime.
Fact sheets and other materials to help employers and workers understand how the rule will affect them and the broader economy are available dol.gov/overtime.
What is COBRA? COBRA stands for Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985. In short, it is a federal law that ensures that employees can maintain Healthcare coverage that they might otherwise lose after something like resigning from a job or filing for unemployment.
COBRA guarantees employees the right to keep their group health care coverage for up to 18 months after leaving their job. Unless they were fired for “gross misconduct,” it generally covers any employees who were terminated.
While employees are guaranteed the option of continuing on with their previous health care coverage, they have to pay for it themselves. The employer does not have to subsidize any of the payments, so employees should understand that the cost can be expensive.
In order to secure COBRA coverage, employees should contact their HR department and HR is required to take the necessary steps to offer COBRA coverage. If an employer elects to take COBRA coverage, the payments will be made through either your company or through their healthcare provider.
Your HR Shield Advisor can offer assistance in setting up insurance plans and managing COBRA coverage. Contact us today for more information.
What is HIPAA?
You may have heard the term “HIPAA Compliant” but aren’t really sure what HIPAA is or what exactly that term means.
HIPAA is the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, which is about health insurance and the importance of privacy when it comes to medical information online. Privacy laws tend to make businesses anxious because it creates anxiety about the dangers of non-compliance. But HIPAA just exists to make personal medical information more private and inaccessible online, which is ultimately a good thing.
So who has to comply with HIPAA standards? The Privacy Rule applies to anyone who is involved with these medical records to have certain administrative, physical and technical safeguards in place that meet the standards of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. If you work in the health care industry, you most likely need to adhere to HIPAA standards, particularly if you store health information or medical records online.
Basically, what this means is that your company has to be able to prove that this information is secure in a variety of ways, including:
• Workstations and servers having up-to-date antivirus software • Encrypted emailing • Screen lock password for phones and tablets that access sensitive email accounts • Complete migration from Windows XP • ..and other security measures.
If you have any questions about meeting these compliances, don’t hesitate to reach out to our HR professionals. We can help you implement changes to ensure that your business stays HIPAA compliant.
If you own a small business, you’re already aware of how the Affordable Care Act has changed the healthcare landscape in America. But what exactly do you need to know about what you need to tell your employees about Affordable Care?
If you or your employees choose to forego insurance, you might have to pay a penalty tax to the IRS. In 2014, the penalty was $95 per adult and $47.50 per child but in 2015 it will be raised to $325 per adult and $162.50 per child.
Enrollment in the Affordable Care Act lasts from November 15, 2014 to February 15, 2015. You must enroll by December 15, 2014 if you would like your coverage to start on January 1, 2015. If you don’t sign up for a health plan by February 15, 2015, you will not be able to qualify for enrollment unless you meet the restrictions, such as having moved out of state recently or having a qualifying life event such as having a child or losing a job.
You can preview the available plans and rates before you apply to get better acquainted with what your options will be or contact your HR Advisor at HR Shield to see what your best options are.
It’s important to keep your employees advised of changes to their healthcare plans and options. If you need assistance with managing your healthcare plans and other HR needs, do not hesitate to contact your HR Professional today!
HSA Enrollment is Increasing An HSA is a Health Savings Account, and more and more people are signing up for them as of late. Before now, many people weren’t signing up for HSAs because they can be confusing on top of already confusing insurance policies, but HSA enrollment has been increasing because they are a great way to get tax savings on medical expenses.
HSAs are savings accounts that cover your medical expenses. You can contribute to them throughout the year in order to have excess money to cover any planned or unforeseen medical bills. You can deduct HSA expenses from your taxes or else employer’s take contributions directly from employee’s paychecks.
For example, if you contribute $3,000/year to and HSA and have fairly average tax rates in your state, you could save up to $750 per year on your taxes. You can also earn interest on the money you put into an HSA and you can take it with you when you change jobs so you never have to worry about losing money. Employers can also make contributions on their employees’ behalf.
However, in order to contribute to an HSA, you have to be on a specific type of insurance plan which involves a High Deductible. This is usually at least $1,200 for individuals and $2,400 for families. This scares people away sometimes, but the good news is that with an HSA the money continues to earn interest and act as a savings account which you can have set aside for medical expenses when you’re older.
If you have any questions about setting up insurance plans for your employees, contact one of our HR agents. We have years of experience with HR needs such as this and can help your company deal with HSAs and other insurance-related issues.
For many employers, minimum wage plays a big role in determining just how much help you can afford to hire. You may have various entry-level exempt and non-exempt positions available at your company, but what if minimum wage increases in the upcoming year – will you be able to afford all of your non-exempt workers?
Here’s your head’s up for 2014! If you weren’t already aware, the following states will have mandatory increases:
State minimum wage changes effective on January 1, 2014:
- Arizona: $7.90 per hour (currently $7.80)
- Connecticut: $8.70 per hour (currently $8.25)
- Florida: $7.93 per hour (currently $7.79)
- Missouri: $7.50 per hour (currently $7.35)
- Montana: $7.90 per hour (currently $7.80)
- New Jersey: $8.25 per hour (currently $7.25)
- Ohio: $7.95 per hour for businesses with annual gross receipts in excess of $292,000 per year (currently $7.85)
- Oregon: $9.10 per hour (currently $8.95)
- Rhode Island: $8.00 per hour (currently $7.75)
- Vermont: $8.73 per hour (currently $8.60)
- Washington: $9.32 per hour (currently $9.19)
Additionally, California’s state minimum wage will increase on July 1, 2014 to $9.00 an hour. Right now it is $8.00 per hour.
When you need one-on-one support with payroll, compliance or hiring, a quick call to your HR Advisor is all it takes to tap into our team of licensed experts—each with a minimum of ten years HR experience. Need help? Contact us!
Walk around any shopping mall, food court, hotel or sporting arena and you’ll see a defibrillator or two built into the wall. Defibrillators deliver a therapeutic dose of electrical energy to the heart of someone who is under cardiac arrest. This “shock” depolarizes a critical mass of the heart muscle, terminates the dysrhythmia, and allows normal rhythm to be re-established.
Sounds high-tech doesn’t it? Because it is! These devices save people’s lives every day. But as a business owner or HR professional you probably can’t help but get anxiety over the thought of having one in the workplace.
What if the pads are applied in the wrong spot? What if the defibrillator malfunctions? What if a bystander or person trying to help is injured in the process? Am I held liable because it’s my place of business?
Fortunately, the federal Cardiac Arrest Survival Act was enacted in 2000. This Act has a Good Samaritan clause to protect anyone that attempts to aid an individual suffering from sudden cardiac arrest by using an Automatic External Defibrillator (AED) and performing CPR. This person is free from any liability if the victim becomes injured or dies so long as they delivered CPR correctly and utilized the device correctly.
Any organization that purchases an AED is free from liability as long as it has notified the proper authorities of the medical equipment, and has maintained and performed tests on the medical equipment. Most defibrillators go unused for years, but still only have a 5-10 year lifespan.
According to OSHA, about 10,000 cardiac arrests happen at work each year. If you do decide to install one in the workplace, training all workplace employees how to correctly utilize one is mandatory under the Cardiac Arrest Survival Act. It’s also very important to pay attention to details surrounding this act that may or may not concern you in an emergency situation. For specifics on this act, click here.
If you have questions about compliance, contact our team at HR Shield today.