November 2016

Fall is upon us with cooler temperatures, changing leaves, and the smell of pumpkin spice lattes. Here at HR Advantage, our staff has remained happily busy with assisting area employers with mandated compliance. 

EEO-1 reporting, the New OT Rule, and policy updates in preparation for the new OSHA post-accident drug testing rule are keeping employers hopping this season

Please see the article below to provide you with more information to prepare.
Feel free to contact HRA to explore the best practice for your company to ensure implementation by December 1, 2016.
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New Overtime Regulations
(Dec 1, 2016)  
Are you ready for the New DOL Overtime Rule?
The final rule was signed on May 18, 2016. Many employers are preparing for this change as more than 4 million US workers will be affected, not to mention their employers.
Please note: If any payroll after the December 1st deadline will include pay for time in November, you must ensure that all non-exempt employees' time is tracked properly, including those newly re-classified.
Are you questioning whether or not you are a covered employer, or if your employees are covered by the FLSA? More than like the answer is "yes," if you or the employee(s) are engaged in interstate commerce, as defined by the Fair Labor Standards Act. The term "Interstate Commerce" is broad and can simply mean mailing and receiving items from other states, or using company telephones or computers to place or accept interstate business calls or orders.
Employers should review current employees that are classified as exempt (White Collar) whether they are:

*Administrative, or;

to ensure that there are no misclassifications, and to determine if the projected salary threshold of $913 per week, or $47,476 annually will be met by the first payroll in December. 

For Highly Compensated Employees (HCE) the new threshold will be $134,004 annually. The salary thresholds are expected to automatically  increase every three years. 

Bright spot for employers:  the new rule will allow employers to use non-discretionary bonuses and incentives, including commissions, to meet up to 10% of the new standard salary level.

****HRA is currently providing on-site services to assist employers in assessing their current staff classifications to ensure compliance.  We can help you determine if some employees should be raised to the new salary threshold ($47,476), or if the best course of action is to re-classify them as non-exempt. In addition, we provide recommendations on the most suitable strategy for your company to communicate with managers and staff.  

Let us partner with you.  Call today to schedule your on-site assessment.

Anti-Retaliation Provisions of Injury & Illness Tracking Rule Delayed

OSHA is delaying the enforcement of the anti-retaliation provisions and its injury and illness tracking rule until December 1, 2016. Under this new rule, employers will be required to inform workers of their right to report work-related injuries and illnesses without fear of retaliation. It also clarifies the existing implementation requirement that an employer's procedure for reporting work-related injuries and illnesses must be reasonable and not discourage employees from reporting. For more information on this rule click here. 

What does this mean for Employers?
  • Employers should no longer use a blanket drug screen policy for
    all work-related accidents.
  • Employers should focus on drug screening employees post-injury if there is reasonable suspicion that they are under the influence or the accident was directly caused by the employee. For example, you wouldn't want to drug screen an employee if the employee reports getting a bee sting or has a strain from repetitive motion.

Things Employers should do before December 1st

  • Make sure your OSHA workplace poster is up to date and available to employees.
  • Revise your policy and procedure on reporting work-related injuries.
  • Train supervisors and managers on injury reporting, spotting reasonable suspicion, and discourage any type of retaliation.
  • Provide employee training on reporting work related injuries.
  • Update your Return to Work program.
  • Roll out the new/revised policies to all employees.
  • Answer questions employees and management have regarding the new provisions.


**Contact HR Advantage if you need assistance revising your work-related accident policy and putting a procedure in place:


Fluctuating Workweek: Proceed with Caution 
As companies work to accommodate recent adjustments to FSLA regulations, many are considering the strategy of a fluctuating workweek. While this will be a great option for some organizations, it isn't for everyone and here is why. 
1. Fixed salaries can be stifling for some work groups. Employees must be paid their full salary for any week in which they perform work. So, what happens should the employee have exhausted his/her PTO? Your organization will still have to pay the full salary if the employee performs any work--even for just an hour. Deductions from the salary basis for exempt employees can be made for  7 different reasons. Not so, if your employee is a non-exempt employee working a fluctuating workweek. Only compete absence for the week, or absences for approved FMLA reasons, will cause the organization to avoid paying the full weekly salary.
2. Employers should only use the fluctuating workweek if the workweek actually fluctuates or varies on a regular basis.  Additionally, the DOL tends to regard with suspicion a company whose employees only work more than 40 hours and never less than 40, although at least one court has disagreed with the DOL on this matter.  Nevertheless, a fluctuating workweek may be a good option for seasonal employees, if the organization can afford to continue to pay the same amount through slow periods. 
3. The DOL is naturally suspicious of this method of calculating pay because it tends to benefit the employer by causing the employer to pay less for overtime. Employers only have to add the "half" and not the "time" to the fixed salary for hours worked over 40 in one workweek, so long as there is an understanding in place that the fixed salary is for all hours worked.  So, employers should proceed with caution, follow all the rules, and perhaps retain legal counsel when designing such a plan.
We are in the last month to get organized and prepared to comply with the new regulation, so the time for investigation, consideration, and decision is upon us.  
If you would like help in structuring compensation, organizing time studies, or communicating your strategy to your employees and managers, we are pleased to partner with your company to provide the help you need.

Managing Smart Phones in the Workplace 
Smartphones and mobile devices have become critical business communication tools in the workplace, making it essential for organizations to establish policies. Read more about important things to consider in managing legal risks of smartphone use outside of the workplace, providing smartphones to employees, and allowing smartphone use at work.
Job Opportunities   

Financial Advisor  (Must have 6/7 Series) 
Springfield MO 
$50K + Commission and full Benefits

If you're interested or if you know of someone who is seeking employment in this area, please Click Here.
Grief in the Workplace

When an employee passes away, a company must deal with the emotional fallout of the situation, while still planning for the viability of the business. Find advice to help your company navigate this difficult time. Click Here to read more about managing the grief process in the workplace.

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Meet Our Advisors

Candida Arvizu MS, SPHR, 


HR Advisor

 Click to send email 417.849.5770


   Katy Lukens     Admin. Services

Click to send email  314.954.6038


Crystal Viefhaus HR Advisor  

Click to send email 417.880.0837


Lynette Weatherford MA, SPHR, SHRM-SCP President

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