Possible New Overtime Rules On the Horizon

Under the Fair Labor Standards Act, approximately 5 million employees that are currently exempt will become eligible for overtime unless their salary is raised.  The current exemptions that will be affected are the “white collar” and the “highly compensated employee” exemptions.

The proposed rules propose to increase the salary level for “white collar” exemptions from the current minimum $23,660.00 per year a year up to approximately $50,440.00 per year.  The proposed rules impact the “highly compensated employee” exemptions by increasing the annual compensation level from $100,000.00 to $122,148.00. However, the “white collar” exemption likely has the potential to impact businesses the most.  Here are five things businesses can start doing now to prepare (as taken from http://www.foxbusiness.com/politics/2016/04/18/as-new-overtime-rules-near-businesses-need-to-prepare.html)

1. Check State versus Federal Regulations

Each state may enact regulations that differ from federal regulations. Businesses will be subject to whichever set of directives is more generous to employees.

2. Classify Employees by Salary

Employees making over the threshold amount may be exempt from overtime if their job duties primarily involve executive, administrative or professional duties, as defined under the regulations. Make a list of the employees whose salaries do not exceed the threshold because they may be entitled to receive overtime once the changes are enacted.

3. Calculate Employee Hours

Identify exactly how many hours per week each employee works.  If a previously exempt employee made $26,000 annually under the old rules, and actually worked 40 hours per week, then you can convert that salary into an hourly rate equal to their pay, or $12.50 per hour. Monitoring those employees’ work hours proactively with threshold reports and/or scheduling tools may help manage overtime costs or ensure that any work exceeding 40 hours per week is paid at the appropriate overtime rate.

4. Consider Changes to Salaries

Consider a different strategy for employees who make less than the proposed salary threshold, who were previously exempt from overtime and who typically work more than 40 hours per week.  You could raise these employees’ base salaries to at least the exemption threshold.  To determine if this is a more cost-effective approach, calculate the increased salary and compare it to the estimated overtime costs that would otherwise apply.

5. Monitor Overtime

Examine the ebbs and flows of your business and think about seasonal fluctuations.  You may find it’s more cost-effective to hire additional full-time, part-time or even temporary employees.  Or you may want to consider implementing an automated scheduling solution to help manage labor costs.

One final consideration – this rule change was endorsed by the Obama administration, and heavily backed by the Democratic legislators, as such, pundits are offering the opinion that it is possible that any finalized rules and changes could be repealed if a Republican win the White House this fall.

 

Truth is Stranger Than Fiction

A Frederick, Maryland man robbed a local Wal-Mart.   The weapon he used – a BB gun he had stolen previously from the same Wal-Mart.

The suspect, made off with approximately $1,700.00 from the store.  A K-9 officer and handler led deputies to a location near the store, where investigators found a backpack, the BB gun and a trespassing notification that was served by the Frederick County Sheriff’s office in February on Nicholas Wayne Keyian.

Security personnel from Wal-Mart remembered Keyian from a number of thefts from the same store during the previous months, including one the day before the robbery, in which the BB gun was allegedly stolen.  Keyian was also recognized as the suspect in a theft dating back to March, in which several electronic items were stolen from the store.

Not surprisingly, Keyian was arrested in connection with the robbery and charged accordingly and was being held in the Frederick County Adult Detention Center.  According to court documents, his bail was set at $100,000.

The Over Prescription of Opiates

The use and prescription of opioid medications has significantly increased in the United States.

By 2010, the United States, with about 5% of the world’s population, was consuming 99% of the world’s hydrocodone (the narcotic in Vicodin), along with 80% of the oxycodone (in Percocet and OxyContin), and 65% of the hydromorphone (in Dilaudid).

As narcotics prescriptions surged, so did deaths from opioid overdoses—from about 4,000 to almost 17,000. Studies have shown that patients who receive narcotics for chronic pain are less likely to recover function, and are less likely to return to work.

This increase has been noted by workers’ compensation insurance carriers and the Maryland Workers’ Compensation Commission.  A seminar was recently held in Maryland that involved input from Maryland Workers’ Compensation Commissioners.

A push has been in place for years now, particularly in the setting of workers’ compensation cases, to prescribe non-narcotic pain management and the research seems to support this as a viable option for individuals who need ongoing pain management.

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2016/03/15/cdc-issues-new-guidelines-opiate-prescribing-reduce-abuse-overdoses/81809704/