Starting January 1, 2020, a new Department of Labor rule will make 1.3 million American workers eligible for overtime pay.
What does the rule mean for floral industry employers? To help answer that question, the Society of American Florists recently offered “Understanding the Newest Final Overtime Regulations,” a free webinar for the trade association’s members.
Jessica Summers, Strategic Policy Director of the Small Business Legislative Council, provided an overview of the new overtime rules. SAF has a long-standing relationship with the SBLC, a coalition of trade associations like SAF that share a common commitment to the small business sector of the economy.
These topics are not only necessary for small-business owners to understand to stay in compliance with the future compensation rules, but they also ensure your employees are paid fairly and help you budget for future labor costs, Summers said. As you head into the end of 2019, it’s important to know what 2020 will bring, in terms of business costs that you can plan for.
During the webinar, Summers explained many complex topics, including:
- Rules covered under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)
- Including the rate at which different types of employees have to be paid overtime under the FLSA.
- How state laws can impact the federal regulations. States such as California and some others, Summers points out, calculate based on a daily number of hours worked, instead of weekly. Your state might define overtime hours owed in different ways, so it’s important to pay attention to laws specific to your state as well as federal regulations.
- Overtime exemptions
- What types of employees are “exceptions” to overtime rules. They can be quite broad categories. Know how your employees are categorized to ensure that you’re in compliance to the FLSA.
In addition, Summers dives into the specific changes to rules for:
- Highly compensated employee compensation
- Changes in salary thresholds and highly compensated salary thresholds
- Changes in bonus inclusion
- Catch-up payments
How will this impact your current employees? You might need to look at your current staff and how they’re being paid in order to assess your budget for next year. How employees are categorized (as salaried vs. hourly or non-exempt vs. exempt) might impact your abilities for employee recruitment and retention, and how you structure their benefits. Summers points out that reclassification might be helpful for your business, but you have to take certain steps before you make these large changes, not only for morale, but also to stay in compliance with the new laws.
SAF members can watch the Webinar recording and download the slides here.
For more details on federal Overtime Pay, visit the DOL website.
Anne Holub is a contributing writer for the Society of American Florists.