impactnews: Dept. of Labor Releases Final Overtime Rule, Goes into Effect Dec. 1, 2016

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) late last month unveiled its final rule changing eligibility for overtime pay.

This policy, which takes effect on December 1, 2016, doubles the salary threshold — from $23,660 to $47,476 per year — under which most salaried workers are eligible for overtime (hourly workers are generally guaranteed overtime pay regardless of their earnings level with the exception of computer professionals paid hourly).

Here are some quick facts to help you begin the process of complying with this new rule:

  • The salary threshold, as noted above, goes from $23,660 to $47,476 a year (or from $455 to $913 per week)
  • To reach the new minimum salary threshold, employers can use up to 10% of non-discretionary bonuses and commissions to reach that amount
  • The DOL’s final rule is not changing any of the existing job duty requirements to qualify for exemption
  • This new salary threshold will be automatically updated every three years to keep pace with inflationary growth
  • Also as noted above, employers must be in compliance by 12/1/16, which means this rule’s requirements begin in the pay period that encompasses 12/1

The DOL advises employers to consider these following options to comply with this new rule: reclassify employees as non-exempt, have them track their time and pay them time-and-a-half for any overtime work; raise workers’ salaries above the new threshold ($47,476); reclassify employees as non-exempt and  limit their hours to 40 hours per week; or consider some combination of these actions.

To this end, bear in mind one key point: employers should consider all consequences of their decision because there will be a financial impact; employee morale issues; and/or there may be an organizational cultural shift.

In addition, employers should consider establishing clear communications about this rule’s requirements with their employees, especially to those employees:

  • who may improperly see a reclassification as a demotion and;
  • who aren’t accustomed typically to keeping track of their hours worked

If you have any questions about the DOL’s new final overtime rule or about how to comply, please contact an impactHR team member via email at or phone 410-312-7882.

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Performance Evaluations: Are They Effective?

Successful businesses recognize that their most important asset for success is their employee base. Unfortunately, though, employers often overlook a crucial step in managing and strengthening that asset – performance feedback. Performance feedback to employees is important in setting expectations, allowing for improvements and planning for future developmental goals.

As part of an overall Performance Management system, employers should have an effective employee performance evaluation and review system. Performance reviews are much more than counseling exercises. They are part of a bigger, more strategic picture.

Performance reviews are effective for two objectives:

  • The documentation of unsatisfactory performance – performance reviews have been recognized as effective in the courts and in arbitration proceedings
  • Linking performance with pay – compensation systems which provide for distribution of pay increases based on performance evaluations.

The most critical objective, however, should be to improve employees’ performance. By implementing an effective performance evaluation process, your business can achieve a number of positives, including higher employee productivity, better performance and improved communication. Your employees will know what is expected of them, how to achieve certain goals and why they will make a real difference to the future of your business.

For performance reviews to be effective, consider these seven factors to help improve employee performance:

  • Implement a consistent and relevant performance evaluation system that is simple as possible. Deciding what to include in a performance evaluation system can be frustrating, but keeping the process and paperwork as simple as possible will ensure a successful program.
  • Develop customized performance evaluation forms to ensure the knowledge, skills, abilities and behavioral competencies being measured are relevant to the job and to the company
  • Show employees the link between their individual performance and company performance and goals
  • Understand how legal issues play a part in the performance review completion and review meetings
  • Directly address employee issues. Allow for the employee to voice his/her concerns and provide feedback as appropriate
  • Empower employees to improve. Assist with the planning for developmental activities needed to ensure the employee will improve and thrive
  • Follow-up and follow-up again. Provide ongoing, continuous feedback to the employee regarding his/her performance. Don’t wait until the next performance review cycle

OSHA to Require Some Employers to Publicly Post Workplace Injuries

The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has released a new rule requiring certain employers to report injuries and illnesses in their workplaces for public posting on OSHA’s website.

In a move to spur employers to make their workplaces safer for employees, OSHA says it is using public posting of this data in a similar way public health departments report publicly on restaurant kitchen sanitary conditions.

With public accessibility to this workplace data, OSHA expects employers to proactively improve safety conditions. Employees or prospective employees, in turn, will have a way to know whether a particular employer is maintaining a safe workplace. OSHA cites U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data that shows “more than three million workers suffer a workplace injury or illness every year.”

The new reporting requirements, according to OSHA, will be phased in over two years for these types of businesses:

Establishments with 20-249 employees in certain high-risk industries, such as (such as agriculture, construction and manufacturing) must submit information from their 2016 Form 300A by July 1, 2017, and their 2017 Form 300A by July 1, 2018. Beginning in 2019 and every year thereafter, the information must be submitted by March 2.

Establishments with 250 or more employees in industries covered by the recordkeeping regulation must submit information from their 2016 Form 300A by July 1, 2017. These same employers will be required to submit information from all 2017 forms (300A, 300, and 301) by July 1, 2018. Beginning in 2019 and every year thereafter, the information must be submitted by March 2.

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SECAF Announced Winners of its 2016 Annual Government Contractor Awards

The Small and Emerging Contractors Advisory Forum (SECAF), based in Falls Church, VA, earlier this month named the winners of its Eighth Annual Government Contractor Awards. SECAF’s annual awards event honors small and emerging government contractors and the players in the industry that rely on small businesses.

Finalists were chosen by a selection committee comprised of 25 business leaders in the Northern Virginia region. Award winners were then selected from this pool in nine categories by the following group of judges, including: Bob Dougherty, CEO, Netcentrics; Tiffanny Gates, CEO, Novetta; David Lee, President, Intelligence & Digital Data; Peter Schulte, Principal, CM Equity; and George Wilson, CEO, ECS Federal. The awardees are:

Government Contractor of the Year: under $6 million revenues
Fusion PPT

Government Contractor of the Year: $6 to $12 million revenues
Apogee Research, LLC

Government Contractor of the Year: $12 to $25 million revenues
IntelliWare Systems, Inc.

Award of Excellence
Atlas Research

Government Project of the Year
Amyx, Inc.

Small Business Partner of the Year

Special Recognition Award
KnowledgeBank, Inc.

Government Advocate of the Year
Jackie Robinson-Burnette, U.S. Small Business Administration

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