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Monday HR Minute: New Min Wage and DOL Rules
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New Minimum Wage Rates and DOL Rules

With Eugene Scalia serving as the acting Secretary of Labor, the DOL is finalizing multiple changes that have been in the works since 2017.

The biggest change, effective as of January 1, 2020, was the increase of the exempt salary threshold from $455 per week to $684 per week, for which we have provided guidance previously. 

The most recent change, which will be published on December 16, 2019, is new rules regarding the calculation of an employee’s regular rate of pay for the purposes of calculating overtime.  These will be effective on January 15, 2020.

This most recent change, the first of its kind in over 50 years, addresses what perks must be included and those that can be excluded when calculating the hourly rate to be paid at time-and-a-half to non-exempt employees who work overtime.  The purpose is to make it easier for employers to offer non-exempt employees perks and benefits without having to count their value toward overtime. Among the numerous changes detailed are (list not all-inclusive):
  • Cost of providing certain parking benefits, wellness programs, onsite specialists treatment, gym access and fitness classes, employee discount on goods and services, certain tuition benefits, and adoption assistance;
  • Payments for unused paid leave including paid sick leave or paid time off;
  • Reimbursed expenses including cell phone plans, credentialing exam fees, organization membership dues, and travel, even if not incurred solely for the employer’s benefit;
  • Certain sign-on, longevity, and discretionary bonuses;
  • Contributions to benefit plans for accident, unemployment, or legal services.
If you offer these types of benefits, you should review the changes carefully to be sure you are calculating overtime properly.

Other DOL changes expected in 2020 include changes to rules about tip pools and how joint employers are defined.

January 1, 2020, also brings minimum hourly wage increases to several states including (Note: This does not include city and county increases.):

Alaska: $10.19
Arizona: $12.00; $9.00 – tipped
Arkansas: $10.00; $2.63 – tipped
California: $12.00 – small employers; $13.00 – large employers
Colorado: $12.00; $8.98 – tipped
Florida: $8.56; $5.54 – tipped
Illinois: $9.25; $5.55 – tipped
Maine: $12.00; $6.00 – tipped
Maryland: $11.00
Massachusetts: $12.75; $4.95 – tipped
Michigan: $9.65; $3.67 – tipped
Minnesota: $10.00 – large employers; $8.15 – small employers
Missouri: $9.45; $4.73 – tipped
Montana: $8.65
New Jersey: $11 – most employers; $10.30 – seasonal, small and/or agricultural employers; $3.13 – tipped
New Mexico: $9.00; $2.35 – tipped
New York: $11.80
Ohio: $8.70 – large employers; $7.25 – small employers; $4.35 – tipped
South Dakota: $9.30; $4.65 – tipped
Vermont: $10.96; $5.48 – tipped
Washington: $13.50

Affinity HR Group is here to help you navigate all the changes to federal, state, and local wage-and-hour laws.

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The Monday HR Minute, brought to you by Affinity HR Group, is designed to provide you with practical, applicable human resources and management advice and information in a format that will take you 60 seconds or less to read.  We believe that by dedicating just one minute a week to thinking about people management practices, business owners and managers can make enormous strides in improving workplace performance.
Affinity HR Group is a full service human resources consulting firm that specializes in advising small and medium-sized enterprises. Our services include recruiting and selection, HR policies and compliance, ad hoc HR support, compensation and performance management, and training and development. We are an endorsed HR partner of a number of leading national trade associations and offer free initial consultations and discounted services to their member companies.
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This e-mail may contain general information about legal matters. Affinity HR Group does not provide legal counsel. The information provided should not be considered legal advice and should not be relied on as an alternative to legal advice from your attorney or other professional legal services provider. If you have any specific questions about this content or any legal matter you should consult your attorney or other professional legal services provider.
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