The Department of Labor announced a proposal in early March to change the salary-level threshold for white-collar exemptions. This move comes more than two years after a federal judge blocked another attempt to update the threshold for overtime eligibility, although the details of the proposal differ from the 2016 proposal.
The current salary-level threshold for white-collar exemptions is $23,600 annually, which equates to $455 per week. The DoL’s new proposal seeks to increase the threshold to $35,308 annually ($679 per week) – nearly halfway to the DoL’s 2016 target threshold of $47,476 ($913 per week).
While the new proposal is notably lower than the blocked attempt, it still marks a nearly 50 percent increase from the current wage threshold. As a result, the DoL “estimates that 1.1 million currently exempt employees who earn at least $455 per week but less than the proposed standard salary level of $679 per week would, without some intervening action by their employers, become eligible for overtime.” That’s a notable change that can have a direct impact on your employee’s compensation.
The fiduciary rule has had a bumpy ride in the past few years. After initially going into partial effect in June of 2017 and targeting Jan. 1, 2018 for a full rollout, the move to have all financial professionals who work with retirement plans follow the same fiduciary ethics and standards was postponed until July 1, 2019. Now MarketWatch reports that the Fifth Circuit Court “struck down the Labor Department’s fiduciary rule” in a split decision Thursday, March 15, 2018.
This may not be the end of the fiduciary rule, however. According to Forbes Contributor David Trainer, the fiduciary rule may still make an impact even after being struck down. Trainer writes “While the ruling could end the Fiduciary Rule as law, it cannot erase the awareness the DOL [Department of Labor] raised, nor can it stop market forces leading the business towards a more ethical place.”
So, what does this mean for business owners? The fiduciary rule wasn’t designed to directly impact you as an owner, but it does affect the financial advisors connected to your business. Here’s a quick rundown of how the fiduciary rule can still make an impression on financial advisors and what that may mean for your business.
There are several employee work classifications covering everyone from full-time workers to special classes such as interns. Each person needs to be sorted into their appropriate groups to help determine their benefit eligibility.
However, there are occasions where employees can be incorrectly classified. The government takes this issue very seriously. The Society for Human Resource Management writes that proper employee classification “make[s] sure that all legal requirements are maintained so that there is no discrimination in terms of benefit plan eligibility and payment of compensation in accordance with federal and state laws.” It’s important to know how misclassification works and just how much it can hurt your business.
A couple of weeks ago, prefaced by an op-ed piece written by President Obama, the Department of Labor issued new directives on overtime rules. As with most government regulations, however good the intention, the result on small business owners will be a creation of “additional costs and record-keeping headaches” according to the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB).