HR & the Law in the News
October 2016, Volume 15, Issue 10
Please enjoy this latest edition of FiveL Company's monthly e-newsletter, bringing you current news related to employment policies, practices and programs. 
Ignorance is Bliss?     
        FLSA Overtime Regulations: Delayed? Deferred? Denied?
Concept for procrastination and urgency with torn newspaper headlines excuses reading later, one day, tomorrow, someday, whenever etc
If you are thinking, "What overtime regulations?" you are not alone.  A study published by Paychex on September 20th found that 49% of business owners surveyed were unaware of the final rule and 31% were somewhat unaware.  

So the new rule is scheduled to take effect December 1st and will significantly impact how employers classify an employee as exempt from the minimum wage and overtime requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).  If you want some quick summaries and strategies check out the June and July editions of this newsletter.  

If you are wondering what the status is and if the rule will or will not take effect December 1st your confusion is understandable. The August edition of this newsletter touched on three bills that are pending before Congress to delay, defer or offset the impact of the new rule.  Since then and just law week we now have even more bills filed to delay or defer implementation of the rule.  

HR 6094 is the Regulatory Relief for Small Businesses, Schools and Nonprofits. It was read in the Senate on September 29th and would delay implementation of the new rule until June 1, 2017.  A companion bill is S. 3462

The Overtime Reform and Review Act phase in the more than 100% increase to the minimum salary threshold in four stages over a five-year period rather than all at once. This bill was also introduced on September 29th. 

Next Steps?  Now is the time to help shape public policy.  If you have already contacted your Senators and Representative follow up.  Ask for confirmation of their position on the bill and if they will support your position, whatever it is.  If you have not yet done so take that step now.  Our elected officials need to hear from you to understand how the final rule will impact your business or organization, your employees and you. If you belong to a professional or trade association they likely have opportunities for you as do the US Chamber of Commerce (plus state and local chambers) and SHRM does as well to email, call and even send a Tweet
Secrets Concept. Word on Folder Register of Card Index. Selective Focus.
Shhh! It's a Secret!
When you fill out a job application a common question is a request to provide your current salary or hourly rate of pay. But the issue of pay secrecy is one that has been receiving attention across the country including in Congress and at the state level.  The National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) already gives all non-supervisory employees the legally protected right to talk to one another about their wages. There are currently at least eight (8) bills pending before Congress addressing pay secrecy.

Taking the concept a step further Massachusetts recently enacted a law that prohibits employers from asking applicants about their salary history.  What's the purpose you ask?  Some believe that this line of inquiry fosters continued pay discrimination that adversely impacts women.  Earlier this year the Bureau of Labor Statistics issued a report that found the wage gap between men and women was smaller for women in 11 states that have enacted fair pay laws.   

Whether you agree or disagree with the data, support or oppose related legislation, as in the preceding article this is ripe for you to shape this public policy.  Contact your state elected officials as well as Congressional representative.  If you ask applicants about their current pay understand why you do so.  Then consider the adverse impact to your business operations if you were no longer permitted to do so. You may find that it really would not make a difference; you may find that it would.  The key is ensuring you open and maintain the dialogue with your elected representatives so together we shape public policy that works best for our employees, prospective employees and the employers that employ them. 

Speaking of secrecy. Join FiveL Company's October 26th webcast, " Workplace Privacy: Whose Business is it Anyway?!" as we review pay secrecy and other legislative, legal and regulatory trends impacting HR policies, practices and procedures.
Upcoming Events!

Wednesday, October 12th - " Federal & Maryland HR & Legal Update" presented for the members and guests of WMDA, a full-day seminar, 8:30 - 4:30, Linthicum, MD. 

Thursday, October 13th - " What Tech Companies Should Know About the New FLSA Rules" hosted AAEDC, 7:45 - 9:30, Odenton, MD. 

Sunday, October 16th - " HR & the Law Update" presented during the annual conference of the NJCUL, Atlantic City, NJ. 

Friday, October 21st - " Workplace Civility: Myth or Mandate?" presented during the Legal & Legislative Conference of CV SHRM, Hagerstown, MD.

Tuesday, October 25th - " A Small Business Seminar: New Overtime Regs & More," a FREE seminar hosted and sponsored by Raeger, Lehman & Houck, CPA, 10:00 - 3:00, Westminster, MD.

Wednesday, October 26th -  Next Webcast , " Workplace Privacy: Whose Business is it Anyway?! ," 10 - 11:15 a.m. Pre-approved by HRCI & SHRM for 1.25 credits. 

For a full list of upcoming events click here
Here it is...the infamous and oh-so-important disclaimer...This publication does not constitute the rendering of legal advice.  You should consult your company's employment or legal counsel for guidance on any particular issue.