Email Sent earlier this morning: November 9, 2016 

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November 9, 2016

The Honorable Donald J. Trump, President Elect

The Honorable Paul Ryan, Speaker of the House of Representatives

The Honorable Mitch McConnell, Senate Majority Leader

All Via Email

Gentlemen:

Congratulations are in order. America has thankfully spoken!

Now is the time to go to work. As leaders, you have a unique opportunity to reshape America and make it great again. It is critical small business job creation and regulatory relief be at the forefront of any and all legislation and Presidential action.

As a small business owner who deals with other small enterprises daily, we respectfully request the following course of action:

1) Congress needs to immediately move forward to halt the Department of Labor’s Overtime regulations including usage of the Congressional Review Act if necessary. This rule is nothing more than a job creation killer. Failing success prior to the Inauguration, President Trump’s Secretary of Labor should rescind the rule with immediate effect.

2) President-Elect Trump should nominate two (2) business oriented members to fill the open positions on the five-member board as soon as possible. The Senate should perform its advise and consent duties and confirm new Board members without delay.

3) President- Elect Trump’s transition team along with Congressional leadership, should convene regional meetings with small business owners throughout the country. The purpose of these outreach meetings is to gain consensus as to regulatory relief necessary to assist small business formation and growth. Many of the challenges facing small and medium sized businesses are Washington based. These impediments to growth must be removed or modified as soon as feasible. Novel and unique tax relief is one of many reforms required to create more jobs and move our primary economic growth engine forward. Accordingly, engagement of the small business community is paramount and has never been more critical to our economic success.

4) The Small Business Administration (SBA) should be thoroughly reviewed and reformed. Many of their programs have become outdated and one in particular needs substantially more resources. The Small Business Development Centers (SBDC) are working and do provide critical services to small enterprises. However, these Centers need much more emphasis (money and expertise) to make them more responsive to the needs of their constituents.

I will leave more complex issues such as trade agreements with other nations and how best to address healthcare reform to the outreach meetings mentioned in number 3 above.

In closing, I am quite pleased with the outcome of the 2016 election results and welcome the opportunity to witness and participate in the rebirth of our great nation.

Sincerely,

William P. Hedrick

CEO

Posted by Rowland and Scott LLC November 09, 2016

Upcoming Event–Greater Heights Chamber of Commerce 

We are pleased to support both the Katy Area Chamber of Commerce and the Greater Heights Chamber of Commerce.  The Greater Heights Chamber is sponsoring a luncheon with U.S. Representative Ted Poe on Friday, October 10, 2016 at the Sheraton Brookhollow Hotel.  Individual tickets are $50.00 and a table of 8 is priced at $400.00.  Registration at the hotel will begin at 11am.  Reservations may be made by phone, 713-861-6735, online at www.heightschamber.org, or email to [email protected].

Posted by Rowland and Scott LLC October 05, 2016

Overtime Rule Update 

The U.S. House of Representatives recently passed HR 6094, a bill that will mandate a 6-month delay in implementation of the new overtime rule scheduled to go into effect on December 1, 2016.  However, with very few scheduled “in session” days remaining prior to Congress formally adjourning, it is highly unlikely the legislation will make it through the Senate this session.  Further, if it were to pass the Senate, President Obama is likely to veto the bill as his administration authored the new rule.

We urge employers to contact their Congressmen and Senators and request their elected representatives support any and all efforts to delay or negate the new rule, including the  use of the Congressional Review Act.

Posted by Rowland and Scott LLC October 03, 2016

Revised I-9 Form Coming 

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced on September 14, 2016, that the newest version of their Form I-9 will be made available on or before Nov. 22, 2016.

Employers may continue to use the current version of Form I-9 with a revision date of 03/08/2013 until Jan. 21, 2017. After that date, all previous versions of the Form I-9 will no longer be valid.

The new Form I-9 will have an expiration date of Aug. 31, 2019.

The updates and changes are to assist employers in reducing errors for which they may be fined. The alterations are:

  1. Embedded instructions for completing each field.
  2. Validations on certain fields to ensure information is entered correctly. The form will validate the correct number of digits for a Social Security number or an expiration date on an identity document.
  3. Helpful drop-down lists and calendars.
  4. Buttons that will allow users to access the instructions electronically, print the form and clear the form, if required, to start over.
  5. Additional spaces to enter multiple preparers and translators as appropriate. If the employee does not use a preparer or translator to assist in completing section 1, he or she must indicate so on a new check box labeled, "I did not use a preparer or translator."
  6. The requirement that workers provide only other last names used in Section 1, rather than all other names used. This is to avoid possible discrimination issues and to protect the privacy of transgender and other individuals who have changed their first names, Fay said.
  7. The removal of the requirement that immigrants authorized to work provide both their Form I-94 number and foreign passport information in Section 1.
  8. A new "Citizenship/Immigration Status" field at the top of section 2.
  9. A dedicated area to enter additional information that employers are currently required to notate in the margins of the form, such as Temporary Protected Status and Optional Practical Training extensions.
  10. A quick-response matrix barcode, or QR code, that generates once the form is printed that can be used to streamline enforcement audits.
  11. Separate instructions from the form. Employers are still required to present the instructions to the employee completing the form, however.

Bear in mind, the new smart I-9 form is not an electronic I-9. Employers completing the new form using Adobe Reader will still need to print the form, obtain handwritten signatures, store in a safe place, monitor re-verifications and updates with a calendaring system, and retype information into E-Verify, if utilized.

Posted by Rowland and Scott LLC September 14, 2016

Significantly Higher Penalties from OSHA 

In case you missed it, OSHA and other federal penalties are dramatically increasing. Effective today, August 1, 2016, OSHA penalties are revised upwards by as much as 70%. The reason behind this impactful increase is the bipartisan budget act, signed into law on Nov. 2, 2015. The budget includes a section that requires federal agencies to adjust civil monetary penalties based on inflation by Aug. 1, 2016.
Although the penalty increases take effect on Aug. 1, the higher penalties may be imposed in ongoing investigations if the violation occurred as far back as February as OSHA must issue a penalty with 6 months of the violation.
Other federal penalties are also indexed upwards. Other branches of the Dept. of Labor (DOL) have instituted penalty adjustments under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), and the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).

At Rowland & Scott, we are available to assist you relative to Dept. of Labor related questions.

Posted by Rowland and Scott LLC August 01, 2016

HR News Alert–The U.S. Department of Labor has released the final rule. 

 

 

Changes Effective December 1, 2016

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has released a final rule, effective December 1, 2016, to update the regulations governing which executive, administrative, and professional employees (referred to as "EAP" or "white collar" workers) are entitled to the federal Fair Labor Standards Act’s (FLSA) minimum wage and overtime pay protections.

Current Rules
The FLSA provides an exemption from both minimum wage and overtime pay for employees employed as bona fide executive, administrative, and professional employees (among others). The current regulations implementing the exemption have generally required each of three tests to be met for the exemption to apply:

  1. The employee must be paid a predetermined and fixed salary that is not subject to reduction because of variations in the quality or quantity of work performed (the "salary basis test");
  2. The amount of salary paid must meet a minimum specified amount, the current level for which is not less than $455 per week, or $23,660 per year (the "salary level test"); and
  3. The employee's job duties must primarily involve executive, administrative, or professional duties as defined by the regulations (the "duties test").

"Highly-compensated employees" (HCEs) who are paid total annual compensation of $100,000 or more and meet certain other conditions are also deemed exempt.

Note: Job titles never determine exempt status. Receiving a particular salary, alone, does not indicate that an employee is exempt. Rather, in order for a white collar exemption to apply, an employee's specific job duties and earnings must meet all of the applicable requirements provided in the regulations.

Key Changes
A
comparison table of the current regulations, proposed rule, and final rule has been provided by the DOL. Among other things, the final rule:

  • Sets the standard salary level at the 40th percentile of earnings of full-time salaried workers in the lowest-wage Census Region (rather than on national data as originally proposed), resulting in a salary level of $913 per week or $47,476 annually for a full-year worker;
  • Sets the HCE total annual compensation level equal to the 90th percentile of earnings of full-time salaried workers nationally, consistent with the DOL's original proposal ($134,004 annually);
  • Establishes a mechanism for automatically updating the salary and compensation levels every 3 years, beginning on January 1, 2020 (rather than annual updates as originally proposed); and
  • Amends the regulations to allow employers to use nondiscretionary bonuses, incentives, and commissions to satisfy up to 10% of the new standard salary level, so long as employers pay those amounts on a quarterly or more frequent basis.

The DOL is not making any changes to the current duties tests. For more information, please refer to the DOL's website on the final rule, which offers employers comprehensive resources including fact sheets, Q&As, guidance for businesses, and more.

Our section on the Fair Labor Standards Act features additional information on exemptions from the law's minimum wage and overtime requirements.

 

 

HR News Alerts provided by:

Rowland and Scott
5850 San Felipe St. Suite 500 PMB#110, Houston, TX, 77057
1-281-825-5595

 

 

Please Note: The information and materials herein are provided for general information purposes only and are not intended to constitute legal or other advice or opinions on any specific matters and are not intended to replace the advice of a qualified attorney, plan provider or other professional advisor. This information has been taken from sources which we believe to be reliable, but there is no guarantee as to its accuracy. In accordance with IRS Circular 230, this communication is not intended or written to be used, and cannot be used as or considered a 'covered opinion' or other written tax advice and should not be relied upon for any purpose other than its intended purpose.

The information provided herein is intended solely for the use of our clients and members. You may not display, reproduce, copy, modify, license, sell or disseminate in any manner any information included herein, without the express permission of the Publisher. Kindly read our Terms of Use and respect our Copyright.

© 2016 HR 360, Inc. - All rights reserved

Posted by Rowland and Scott LLC May 18, 2016

Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) 

     

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    The majority of U.S. private sector businesses and their employees must meet OSHA safety and health requirements. Small businesses with fewer than 10 employees are partially exempt, meaning they are not required to maintain OSHA injury and illness records unless informed otherwise in writing by OSHA or the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

    Exclusion from the scope of OSHA requirements are:

    1. Public sector employees, such as those employed by state and local governments;

    2. Self-employed individuals;

    3. Family farms/ranches that do not have outside employees; and

    4. Workers at facilities regulated by other federal agencies.

        All U.S. employers must provide a safe and healthy place to work. There are four basic elements to all effective safety and health programs:

        1. Management Commitment and Employee Involvement. The manager or management team leads the way, by setting policy, assigning and supporting responsibility, setting an example and involving employees.

        2. Worksite Analysis. The worksite must continually be analyzed to identify all existing and potential hazards.

        3. Hazard Prevention and Control. Methods to prevent or control existing or potential hazards are put in place and maintained.

        4. Training for Employees, Supervisors and Managers. Managers, supervisors and employees are trained to understand and deal with worksite hazards.

          Rowland & Scott is available to assist employers with OSHA compliance including but not limited to preparation of Emergency Plans, Fire Safety Plans, Hazardous Materials reviews, First Aid requirements/training and Recordkeeping and Posting requirements.  Feel free to call us at 281/825-5595 or [email protected]

          Posted by Rowland and Scott LLC May 18, 2016

          Millions of Employees Will Be Affected By The Upcoming Overtime Changes 

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          The impact of the anticipated Dept. of Labor (DOL) new rule is far reaching and will be very significant. The vast majority of employers that fall under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) should anticipate reviewing employee overtime eligibility classifications (Exempt versus Non-Exempt) as soon as possible after the rule is published.

          The Threshold Salary Level will increase. Presently, to qualify as exempt from the FLSA, employees must make more than $455 a week or $23,660 a year. The DOL has proposed that the threshold increase to as high as the 40th percentile of weekly earnings for full-time salaried workers, which is more than a 100 percent increase and resulting in a doubling the salary test from the current level.

          It is anticipated the DOL Rule will periodically and automatically raise the salary level. The Rule will in all likelihood provide for automatic increases in the salary level (including for highly compensated employees) on an annual basis, either based on percentiles of earnings for full-time salaried employees or based on changes in inflation.

          The Rule will adjust the Highly Compensated Employee (HCE) exemption upwards. DOL’s proposal is to set the HCE annual compensation level equal to the 90th percentile of earnings, which is $122,148 a year in 2016, and adjusted annually for inflation. Currently, in order to qualify for this exemption, an employee must earn at least $100,000/year.

          Workplace Flexibility May Be Reduced. The proposed Rule will require employers to reclassify a significant number of employees from exempt to nonexempt status. Employers must review the need to track hours worked and the resulting impact on workplace flexibility such as telecommuting.

          It is never too late to voice your opposition – We recommend all employers contact their U.S. Representative and U.S. Senators and request their support for the various Bills pending in Congress that will nullify the new Overtime Rule.

          Rowland & Scott is available to assist employers with assessing the impact of the Rule and compliance once it is published.

          Call us at +1 281-825-5595 or email us at [email protected]

          Posted by Rowland and Scott LLC May 15, 2016 Categories: New Rules Overtime