Labor laws are regulated at the federal and state level. These policies impact both workers and businesses. Here are some key facts to consider:
Wage and Hour – Did you know Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Rhode Island, Vermont, West Virginia and Washington, D.C. approved minimum wage increases in 2014? Moreover, 15 states have scheduled future state minimum wage increases through 2018 while 29 states and Washington, D.C. have minimum wages above the federal minimum wage. Please visit the U.S. Department of Labor for additional information on federal and state minimum wages.
More/less Employee Leave – The Family and Medical Leave Act, signed into law in 1993, provides eligible employees up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave per year. It also requires that their group health benefits be maintained during the leave. FMLA applies to all public agencies, all public and private elementary and secondary schools, and companies with 50 or more employees.
Discrimination –The Age Discrimination in Employment Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, and the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act, to name a few, are federal regulations that prohibit discriminatory behavior in the workplace. To learn more about the various types of discrimination prohibited by law, visit the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission website.
- New Version of Employment Verification Form I-9 Issued, Becomes Mandatory January 2017
The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, a division of the Department of Homeland Security, has published a new version of Form I-9, which must be used by all employers to verify a new employee’s identity and eligibility to work in the U.S. The new form, dated November 14, 2016, becomes mandatory for use beginning January 22, 2017.
The USCIS said the revised three-page form will be easier to complete on a computer. It also is designed to reduce confusion and will help employers avoid technical errors that could result in hefty fines. The changes include:
- Prompts to ensure information is entered correctly. It will notify the user of any missing fields, dates inputted incorrectly and social security numbers that are missing a digit.
- Improved naming convention. Employees now only need to provide "other last names used" rather than "all other names" used. This is expected to avoid possible discrimination issues and protect privacy of transgender and other individuals who have changed their first names.
- A dedicated area for additional information. Employers currently provide this in the margins of the form.
The USCIS said employers must remember that the revised I-9 form must still be printed out so employees and/or their preparers can sign them. They can be stored on- or off-site in a single format or combination of formats, such as paper, microfilm or microfiche, or electronically.
More information and copies of the new form are available at www.uscis.gov/i-9.
- Update: Federal Judge Blocks Proposed Overtime Rule
With just over a week before it was to take effect, a federal judge has blocked implementation of the federal government's new overtime pay rule, which was scheduled to go into effect December 1. The rule would have raised the salary threshold for overtime exemption from the current $23,660 per year to $47,476 annually.
The situation is very fluid, compounded by the fact that President-Elect Trump campaigned against onerous federal regulations and could take steps to block or repeal the rule, regardless of the legal challenge.
NAMM will continue to monitor and post updates here and will discuss this topic at our policy session at The 2017 NAMM Show. Details below:
NAMM Policy Roundtable, "Federal Overtime Rules"
Thursday, January 19, 2017
1 p.m. – 2 p.m.
NAMM Member Center, Anaheim Convention Center, lobby B
- Final Overtime Rule Issued, New Salary Tests Effective December 1
The Department of Labor has released the first major overhaul of federal overtime pay rules in more than a decade, dramatically increasing the salary levels at which professional, executive and administrative employees will be exempt from overtime.
Under the new rule, which becomes effective December 1, the salary level for so-called "white collar" workers such as store or department managers increases from the current $23,660 a year ($455 per week) to $47,476 annually ($913 per week). Future increases will take effect every three years thereafter, tied to national wage payment data. Employees must be guaranteed the minimum salary to qualify for overtime exemption, but employers will be able to count non-discretionary bonuses, incentive pay or commissions for up to 10% of the required minimum salary, with adjusting payments to be made no less frequently than quarterly.
The final rule makes no change in the so-called "duties" test, which spells out criteria for each category of exempt worker.
The salary test for high-compensated workers, who are subject to a more streamlined duties test, goes up from $100,000 annually to $134,000 a year.
Text of the final rule, together with a lengthy explanatory introduction, can be found here.
- Doubling of Overtime Exemption Salary Test Proposed - Open for Public Comment
The Labor Department has proposed to more than double the salary level for workers in so-called "white collar" jobs to be exempt from overtime. The proposal will be open to public comment in the next week or ten days. See instructions below for submitting comments that will be available for 60 days. When new regulations are finalized, it is likely they would take effect sometime in 2016.
The proposal (http://www.dol.gov/whd/overtime/NPRM2015/OT-NPRM.pdf) would set a weekly salary level of at least $970 ($50,440 per year) for employees classified in executive, professional or administrative jobs to be exempted from overtime pay if they work more than 40 hours in a week. The current level is $455 per week ($23,660 per year).
The proposed salary level, which as proposed would increase in future years as wages in the general economy rise, would especially hit retail and chain restaurant employers the hardest, since many pay store managers and assistant store managers less than the proposed new salary threshhold.
Left untouched -- at least in the current proposal -- is the definition of what constitutes an executive, professional or administrative job, although the Labor Department has asked for public comment on whether -- and, if so, how -- the definitions should be modified.
NAMM is working closely with the National Retail Federation to analyze the impact of the proposed rule change.
Instructions for submitting comments:
You may submit comments, identified by Regulatory Information Number (RIN) 1235-AA11, by either of the following methods: Electronic Comments: Submit comments through the Federal eRulemaking Portal http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions for submitting comments. Mail: Address written submissions to Mary Ziegler, Director of the Division of Regulations, Legislation, and Interpretation, Wage and Hour Division, U.S. Department of Labor, Room S-3502, 200 Constitution Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20210. Instructions: Please submit only one copy of your comments by only one method. All submissions must include the agency name and RIN, identified above, for this rulemaking. Please be advised that comments received will become a matter of public record and will be posted without change to http://www.regulations.gov, including any personal information provided.