Last week HR Shield had the opportunity to attend an annual event hosted by the Society for Human Resource Management called “The Day in the Beltway.”  Each year members of the association are able to take a trip to Washington DC to have one on one time with our senators and congressmen and their staff.  We were there representing the HR field, and the employers we work for, to lobby for or against legislation that would have a direct impact on business.

United States Capitol BuildingWhen Congress or state legislatures are developing workplace policy, HR’s voice needs to be heard. As advocates for the HR community, SHRM members understand and can communicate how public policy issues may affect employees and employers. By working together, we can help advance effective workplace public policy.

We were there to address specific issues related to the Fair Labor Standards Act.

Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), employees are to be paid a rate of at least one and a half times their regular rate for any ours over 40 in a week, unless they have been classified as exempt (salaried) under certain specific statutory categories or meet other requirements in the regulations.

Under section 541 of the FLSA regulations, an employee may qualify as exempt from overtime requirements if he or she satisfies a “primary duties test” (performs specific job duties under the executive, administrative, professional, computer or outside sales regulations), and if he or she is paid on a “salary basis.”  Under current regulations the employee must be paid a salary of at least $455 weekly to meet the salary basis test.

President Obama directed the Department of Labor (DOL) to “modernize and streamline” the FLSA overtime regulations.  What does this mean to you? Potential changes include raising the salary basis amount to possibly DOUBLE what it currently is.  Meaning you would have to pay your salaried employees a minimum of $910.00 a week to classify them as exempt!  The DOL is also looking at changing the primary duties test for many of the otherwise exempt employees, which could result in those employees losing their exempt status, and therefore being subject to overtime, costing you additional monies in overtime pay!

Are your exempt (salaried) employees classified correctly?  It pays to know!  If these changes come to fruition, it will end up costing you more to run your business!

For more information on the legislation currently being tracked by SHRM, visit http://www.advocacy.shrm.org/home