Office Christmas Party seems like a nightmare, right? But some firms have seen even worse… Check it out here: http://bit.ly/2hoGWJc – and feel better that your employees only abused the copier..

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Are Your Employees On Call? Time for a Re-Think

Many retail stores use an on call approach for their staffing – meaning, employees are on-call and have to be ready to come into work, until they are told they’re not on that shift. It helps manage labor costs dynamically, by staffing only when needed, but has faced fierce pushback from employees and labor groups.

Several large chains are dumping the practice now, thanks to an inquiry by a group of state attorneys general from across the country. The New York attorney general states: “On-call shifts are not a business necessity and should be a thing of the past. People should not have to keep the day open, arrange for child care, and give up other opportunities without being compensated for their time.”

Read more at Washington Post: http://wapo.st/2h8k4S7

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I’m SO busy! Who needs a Rolex when business signals your status? http://wapo.st/2hPJVeV In our information-drenched, 24/7 work workplaces, where time for leisure has become an even scarcer commodity for many professionals than money to buy luxury goods, being “so busy” seems to be a badge of honor, a status symbol in our always-on world.

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Ready to be Replaced by Robots?

HR, look out. A chatbot is after your job..Your company’s HR department could get less human – http://wapo.st/2gffOeo

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Corporate America Unsure of What Trump Will Do Going Forward

You ready? Trump’s unpredictable style unnerves corporate America – http://wapo.st/2goKsFp

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Work Visas Could Be Under Fire with Trump

Trump could have a big impact on businesses accustomed to being able to hire foreign talent to fill jobs.
Five Employment Visa Issues to Watch In a Trump Presidency – http://bit.ly/2goEwfu

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Overtime Injunction: What Employers Can and Should Do Now

Last month, a Texas federal judge granted a preliminary injunction against the revised overtime regulations issued by the U.S Department of Labor (DOL) in May. Under the new DOL rule, the newly salary threshold for overtime pay would increase from $23,600 to $47,476. Any employee earning less than $47,476 annually would receive overtime pay for working more than 40 hours per week. The change to the overtime threshold level, which has been in place since 2004, was expected to increase wages and earnings for approximately 4.2 million workers. Now, employers are confused and unsure how to handle overtime pay.

Want serious guidance? Get C4CM’s free webinar, Overtime Injunction! Handling Planning, Employee Communications and Strategies for the Overtime Overhaul, led by Ogletree Deakins attorneys, to help you navigate these murky times.

Many business owners rushed to accommodate the new overtime rules. Some increased salaries to avoid the threshold issue. Others moved employees from salaried to hourly status. Still others made changes to offset expected payroll costs. Then, twenty-one states supported by various business groups sued the federal government, saying the DOL overstepped its authority. They asked for an emergency injunction, which was granted by the Texas judge. Earlier this month, the Department of Labor appealed the judge’s ruling to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. With both sides squaring off for a fight, an appeals court review may take months to complete even if the appeal is expedited. Caught in the middle are employers who won’t get answers or direction on how to proceed anytime soon.

So what should employers do? Business owners who weren’t ready to comply with the December 1 deadline are breathing a sigh of relief. However, some may have a bigger problem on their hands if the new rule is eventually enforced. Kronos reported that nearly 40 percent of U.S. salaried employees surveyed said they do not track or report their time. If employers have to pay overtime retroactively, some may not have a way of knowing of how much they owe their workers. While the legal battle wages in the appeals court, businesses should have their employees track their time. There are many digital tools available that allow employees track their daily work hours.

Business owners who increased salaries or moved employees from salaried to hourly status have tough decisions to make. Should they lower salaries or change worker’s status? Elissa O’Brien from the Society for Human Resource Management recommends leaving salary increases in place. Reversing salary raises for no other reason than the uncertainty around the rule’s future may negatively impact morale.

As for employers who moved workers from exempt (salaried) to non-exempt (hourly) status, Ryan Glasgow, a partner at Hunton & Williams LLP, sees no issue with shifting them back to exempt status. “Assuming there are no concerns on the duties front, employers should be able to move those employees back to exempt status without a lot of pushback,” Glasgow says. “Most, but not all, employees prefer to be exempt anyways.” A Kronos survey backs Glasgow’s recommendation. Of those surveyed, 63 percent indicated they would work after hours even if doing so were against company policy.

Although many employers, especially small business owners, are angry and frustrated about wasting time to accommodate the new rules, there is an upside. While preparing for the new DOL rules, many companies reviewed whether their salaried employees met the primary duties requirement. Regardless of the overtime rule’s fate, the duties test remains. Ensuring duties and employment status are aligned correctly is a positive move for any business. Although many believe that the Fifth Circuit will rule against the DOL, no one can say for sure what will happen. In the meantime, employers should follow the recommendations detailed above and prepare for both eventualities.

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