Report from #SHRM15: The USDOL Causes a Buzz


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The morning of the last day of the #SHRM15 conference started with Dr. Oz. I was prepared not to be all that interested in what he had to say, but he was actually pretty interesting. Here are some of his pearls of wisdom from my Tweets:

  • HR is the cutting edge of healthcare because we communicate wellness to our employees. Not a typical view of HR.
  • Dr. Oz asks us to message three people who like you and ask why they like you. With Dr. Oz the answer he got was his passion.
  • The biggest reason people don’t change is the fear of failing in change. Losing love.
  • Emotional health hurts everyday. Few people ask for help. People change based on feelings. But it has to be easy.
  • Realizing why you matter to someone is powerful and a key to change.
  • 5 biggest life adjustments blood pressure, 30 min exercise, healthy diet, stress control and sleep, curtail addictions. Make is easy
  • We need 7 hours of sleep per night at least. Men need 7.5.
  • you have to “quiet your plaque”. People are unaware of their problems. Diabetes destroys arteries.
  • Lungs of people that have smoked are very, very ugly. Why would you let anyone you love smoke?
  • Your waist has to be less than half your height in inches. That is more important than your weight.
  • if we conquer the obesity problem in the US any health system will work.
  • You cannot overcome the biology of blubber. That is why diets don’t work. Change the nature of it.
  • Eat spices, eat nuts, (He is enjoying his nuts discussion), have to have some fats in your diet. Diet sodas are really bad.
  • 65 year old have the same endurance as a 16 yr old. Just not the speed.
  • Biting a cork will help reduce anger and if you have a cork in your mouth no one will bother you.
  • per good news. “We are supposed to be flawed.”
  • Automate as much as you can. Working on autopilot makes your life easier and healthier. Develop a routine.

For those trying to lose weight Dr. Oz has several suggested programs. Check out his site and blog for great health information.

USDOL announces new Exempt salary level

The US Department of Labor released the long awaited revisions in the minimum salary level an employee must have to be considered exempt. Currently that level is $455 per week, or $23,660. Any exempt employee must be paid that amount of money on a salary basis in order to be considered an exempt employee, regardless of whether or not they meet the duties test. The announcement indicates that the USDOL is raising that minimum salary to $970 per week, or $50,440 per year. This is more than twice the current level! The estimate is that this will result in 5 million white collar workers having to be reclassified as non-exempt employees. This will mean that time will have to be tracked and overtime paid anytime the employee works more than 40 hours in a week.

I talked to Michael Aitken, VP of Governmental Affairs for SHRM and also Tammy McCutchen, an attorney who was a former member of the USDOL, about these proposed changes. Both of them mentioned that there was a surprise in the announcement in that there was no mention of a change in the duties test that all exempt employees have to meet. Aitken thinks that the USDOL is leaving that for a separate announcement, which McCutchen thinks will come mid-2016 in order to beat the mid-term election and a possible change in administration.

The salary level is just proposed at the moment. It is possible that the amount may change, but it is unlikely. So employers need to be evaluating the status of all their exempt employees who make less than $51,000 in salary. You need to determine what would be the best option financially; increasing the employee’s salary level to $970 per week or paying them overtime for all hours worked more than 40 hours in a week. It is unlikely the regulation change will go into effect this year, more likely early or mid-2016. Thus, there is time to prepare. So you had better get to work.

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