Employment

Ask the Experts: Preparing for New Overtime Thresholds

Question: What should employers do to prepare for the anticipated January 1, 2020, effective date of new DOL’s white collar exemptions?

Answer: On March 7, 2019, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) announced a proposed rule to update and revise Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) white collar exemptions by raising the salary level for an exemption from $455 per week ($23,660 annually) to $679 per week ($35,308 annually), among other changes.

The rule is expected to be adopted and become effective January 1, 2020. While it’s too early to make any actual changes in response to the proposal, it’s a good idea to start preparing now so you’ll be ready if it becomes law, as experts anticipate it will.

  • Analyze cost impacts. You can begin to determine which employees are classified as exempt and earn $35,308 per year or less. Estimate the increased costs of either increasing their salaries to $35,308 per year or reclassifying the employees as nonexempt and paying overtime when they work more than 40 hours per week (or overtime hours worked based on your state’s overtime laws). Again, hold off on any actual changes until the proposal becomes effective.

  • Review job descriptions. Take a look at your organization’s job descriptions to ensure that they are accurate for the work that the employees actually perform. Update as needed. Review the classifications as exempt or nonexempt based on the “job duties test” as defined by the DOL.

  • Forecast overtime. Talk with the impacted employees and their managers to get an estimate of how much overtime per week they actually work.

  • Review your overtime policies. While employers must pay overtime per federal and state laws even if the overtime is not authorized, employers can limit the amount of overtime allowed and provide disciplinary action to employees who fail to follow policy.

  • Measure productivity. Now that some exempt employees may be reclassified as nonexempt, ensure that the extra hours worked result in measurable productivity. Many exempt employees did not track hours worked previously and may have worked longer hours when not absolutely necessary. Since that time will now be compensable time, employers should ensure that the overtime is warranted based on business demand.

  • Review meal and rest break rules. Those employees who will be reclassified as nonexempt will be required to comply with state or company mandated meal and rest break requirements.

  • Review employee communications regarding policies, the enforcement of such policies, and how you will communicate these changes to those employees who will be affected by the change in status.

Originally posted on ThinkHR.com

California Employment Law Update — March 2019

California-1.jpg

Updated Poster and Handbook Policy

Effective April 1, 2019, per Cal. Code Regs. tit. 2 § 11095, both of the following are required (as applicable):

  • Every employer covered by the California Family Rights Act (CFRA) and/or New Parent Leave Act (NPLA) is required to post and keep posted on its premises, in conspicuous places where employees are employed, a notice explaining the provisions of both acts and providing information concerning the procedures for filing complaints of violations of the acts with the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH).

  • If the employer publishes an employee handbook that describes other kinds of personal or disability leaves available to its employees, the employer must include a description of CFRA and/or NPLA leave in the next published edition of its handbook following adoption of these regulations. The employer may include both pregnancy disability leave and CFRA and/or NPLA leave requirements in a single notice.

The DFEH has not released a poster with the updated language that incorporates the NPLA; however, it is detailed in the regulation.

Read the code

Senate Bill Introduced to Clarify Sexual Harassment Training Requirements

On February 26, 2019, the California Senate introduced legislation (S.B. 778) regarding the sexual harassment training requirements under the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA). The bill was introduced due to confusion about training and retraining in context of the compliance dates.

Under existing law and by January 1, 2020, employers with five or more employees must provide at least two hours of classroom or other effective interactive training and education regarding sexual harassment to all supervisory employees, and at least one hour of the same to all nonsupervisory employees in California within six months of their assumption of a position. Existing law also specifies that an employer that has provided this training to an employee after January 1, 2019, is not required to provide sexual harassment training and education by the January 1, 2020, deadline.

Senate Bill 778 specifies that an employer who has provided this training and education to an employee after January 1, 2018, is not required to do so again until after December 31, 2020. The bill would also require a “refresher training” to each employee once every two years and make other related changes to those provisions requiring sexual harassment training.

Importantly, this bill has only been introduced and may be acted upon on or after March 29, 2019, as stated in the “history actions” (a chronological list of actions taken on the bill).

When viewing the bill on the legislature’s website (which is updated as the bill progresses):

  • Select the “status” tab to review the bill status, type of measure, and the last five history actions.

  • Select the “compare versions” tab to review the specific changes to the law introduced by S.B. 778.

Read CA S.B. 778