Nicole Rice

Two important announcements this week from the federal Department of Labor

By Nicole Rice, Policy Director, Government Relations

Capitol Update, May 20, 2016

--- US Department of Labor announces finalized overtime pay regulations

The US Department of Labor has released it finalized rule regarding overtime pay.  The rule focuses primarily on updating the salary and compensation levels needed to classify exempt employees. Key elements of the new rule include:

  • Doubles the current standard salary threshold from $23,660 to $47,476 a year ($455 to $913 a week). 
  • Raises the “highly compensated employee” (HCE) threshold from $100,000 to $134,004, above which only a minimal showing is needed to demonstrate an employee is not eligible for overtime.
  • Updates the salary threshold every three years.
  • Makes no changes to the “duties test” and allows bonuses and incentive payments to count toward up to 10 percent of the new salary level. 

The initial increases to the new standard salary level and HCE total annual compensation requirement will be effective on December 1, 2016. Future automatic updates to those thresholds will occur every three years, beginning on January 1, 2020.

The Department of Labor will be releasing three technical guidance documents, designed to help private employers, non-profit employers, and institutions of higher education come into compliance with the new rule.

For more information, click here.

To sign up for the informational webinars, click here.

--- EEOC releases final rules on ADA and employer-sponsored Wellness programs/incentives confidentiality

The US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has issued its final rules that describe how Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Title II of the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) apply to wellness programs offered by employers that request health information from employees and their spouses.

The ADA and GINA generally prohibit employers from obtaining and using information about employees' own health conditions or about the health conditions of their family members, including spouses. However, both laws generally allow employers to ask health-related questions and conduct medical examinations as part of a voluntary wellness program.

Last year, EEOC issued proposed rules that addressed whether offering an incentive for employees or their family members to provide health information as part of a wellness program would render the program involuntary. The final ADA rule provides that wellness programs that are part of a group health plan and that ask questions about employees' health or include medical examinations may offer incentives of up to 30 percent of the total cost of self-only coverage. The final rules will go into effect in 2017 and apply to all workplace wellness programs, including those in which employees or their family members may participate without also enrolling in a particular health plan. 

The rules are available in the Federal Register here and here

EEOC Q&A documents on both rules are available here and here.

Documents for both rules for small MFG are available here and here.

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