Views: Mitigating COVID-19’s catastrophic impact on retirement readiness

As the coronavirus has placed many financial worries onto families, it has also placed a sense of worries for those that are planning for their retirement. Read this blog post to learn more.


It’s bad enough that more than 50 million Americans have filed claims for unemployment benefits since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown. But in addition to the disruption, financial hardship, and uncertainty that unemployed Americans (and their families) are experiencing right now, this crisis also threatens their financial security during retirement.

As I have written many times before in this column, defined contribution plan participants will seriously diminish their retirement savings if they prematurely cash out all or part of their 401(k) savings account balances. According to our research, a hypothetical 30-year-old who cashes out a 401(k) account with $5,000 today would forfeit up to $52,000 in earnings they would have accrued by age 65, if we assume the account would have grown by 7% per year. In addition, the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI) estimates that the average American worker will change employers 9.9 times over a 45-year period. With at least 33% and as many as 47% of plan participants cashing out their retirement savings following a job change, according to the Savings Preservation Working Group, that means workers switching jobs could cash out as many as four times over a working career, devastating their ability to fund a secure retirement.

Even before COVID-19 and “social distancing” became part of the national lexicon, cash-outs posed a huge problemto Americans’ retirement prospects. At the beginning of this year, EBRI estimated that the U.S. retirement system loses $92 billion in savings annually due to 401(k) cash-outs by plan participants after they change jobs.

These alarming trends were uncovered long prior to the pandemic and lockdown. Since the start of the COVID-19 outbreak, theCoronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act stimulus has temporarily eased limits, penalties, and taxes on early withdrawals from retirement savings accounts made by December 31, 2020. While the CARES Act measures are clearly well-intentioned, participants who take advantage of these provisions risk creating a long-term problem while resolving short-term liquidity needs.

Heightening the temptation to make 401(k) withdrawals is the recent expiration of another CARES Act provision—the extra $600 weekly payments to Americans who lost their jobs due to the COVID-19 pandemic. These additional federal unemployment benefits expired at the end of July, and as of this writing no deal to extend them has been reached in Congress. For Americans who had been relying on this benefit, or continue to experience financial hardship and stress about paying expenses, it is understandable that 401(k) savings could look like an attractive source of emergency liquidity.

However, given the long-term damage that cash-outs inflict on retirement outcomes, plan sponsors and recordkeepers should take this opportunity, as fiduciaries, to educate their current and terminated participants about the importance of tapping into their 401(k) savings only as an absolute last resort.

Institutionalizing portability can help

The lack of a seamless process for transporting 401(k) assets from job to job causes many participants to view cashing out as the most convenient option. And without an easy way to locate the mailing addresses of lost and missing terminated participants, sponsors and recordkeepers are unable to ensure holders of small accounts receive notifications about the status of their plan benefits.

Fortunately for participants, sponsors, and recordkeepers, technology solutions enabling the institutionalization of plan-to-plan asset portability have been live for three years. These innovations include auto portability, the routine, standardized, and automated movement of a retirement plan participant’s 401(k) savings account from their former employer’s plan to an active account in their current employer’s plan.

Auto portability is powered by “locate” technology and a “match” algorithm, which work together to find lost and missing participants, and initiate the process of moving assets into active accounts in their current-employer plans.

By adopting auto portability, sponsors and recordkeepers can not only discourage participants from cashing out, but also eliminate the need for automatic cash-outs. And these advantages come at a time when the hard-earned savings of tens of millions of Americans are at risk of being removed from the U.S. retirement system.

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, EBRI estimated that if all plan participants had access to auto portability, up to $1.5 trillion in savings, measured in today’s dollars, would be preserved in our country’s retirement system over a 40-year period. Now more than ever, the institutionalization of portability by sponsors and recordkeepers is essential for helping Americans achieve financial security in retirement.

SOURCE: Williams, S. (31 August 2020) "Mitigating COVID-19’s catastrophic impact on retirement readiness" (Web Blog Post). Retrieved from https://www.employeebenefitadviser.com/opinion/how-to-mitigate-covid-19s-potentially-catastrophic-impact-on-retirement-readiness


Millions of U.S. jobs to be lost for years, IRS projections show

It's estimated that there will be about 37.2 million fewer employee-classified jobs in the next year, than there has been in previous years. Read this blog post to learn more.


The Internal Revenue Service projects that lower levels of employment in the U.S. could persist for years, showcasing the economic fallout of the coronavirus pandemic.

The IRS forecasts there will be about 229.4 million employee-classified jobs in 2021 — about 37.2 million fewer than it had estimated last year, before the virus hit, according to updated data released Thursday. The statistics are an estimate of how many of the W-2 tax forms that are used to track employee wages and withholding the agency will receive.

Lower rates of W-2 filings are seen persisting through at least 2027, with about 15.9 million fewer forms filed that year compared with prior estimates. That’s the last year for which the agency has published figures comparing assumptions prior to the pandemic and incorporating the virus’s effects.

W-2s are an imperfect measure for employment, because they don’t track the actual number of people employed. A single worker with several jobs would be required to fill out a form for each position. Still, the data suggest that it could take years for the U.S. economy to make up for the contraction suffered because of COVID-19.

The revised projections also show fewer filings of 1099-INT forms through 2027. That’s the paperwork used to report interest income — and serves as a sign that low interest rates could persist.

There’s one category that is expected to rise: The IRS sees about 1.6 million more tax forms for gig workers next year compared with pre-pandemic estimates.

That boost “likely reflects assumptions with the shift to ‘work from home,’ which may be gig workers, or may just be that businesses are more willing to outsource work — or have the status of their workers be independent contractors — now that they work from home,” Mike Englund, the chief economist for Action Economics said.

SOURCE: Davison, L.; Tanzi, A. (20 August 2020) "Millions of U.S. jobs to be lost for years, IRS projections show" (Web Blog Post). Retrieved from https://www.employeebenefitadviser.com/articles/millions-of-u-s-jobs-to-be-lost-for-years-irs-projections-show


How employers and the economy win with remote work

Employers have been highly affected by the situations that the coronavirus pandemic has brought upon them, but so has the economy. The coronavirus has seemed to bring in a dark cloud over most situations, but now it can be looked at as helping both employers and the economy with the remote working situations. Read this blog post to learn more.


As high profile employers such as Twitter and Slack announce that they will allow employees to work from home indefinitely, other organizations have also noticed the advantages of a remote work model.

Aside from increased productivity and improved mental health for employees, employers can save $11,000 per employee on office costs and even reduce their carbon emissions, says Moe Vela, chief transparency officer at TransparentBusiness, a company that provides a remote workforce management platform.

When it comes to remote work, ”everyone wins across the board,” he says. “Remote work should be viewed no differently than a healthcare insurance package, dental insurance, paid time off, sick leave, or family leave.”

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Vela shared his thoughts on why remote work is the new normal and how employers can use technology to ensure that the experience for their employees is seamless.

How does remote work benefit employers and employees?

Employers benefit tremendously. On average, an employer saves $11,000 per year per employee in a remote workforce model. They need less commercial office space, so their bottom line actually improves because they can cut down on their office expenses. If you have 500 people in an office setting, that's 500 people you need supplies, equipment and infrastructure for — those costs get dramatically reduced or go away completely.

The other benefit to the employer is that productivity goes up in a remote workforce model. There is less absenteeism, workers are happier and also healthier because you're not confined in an office space spreading germs.

Your work life balance is improved dramatically by a remote workforce model for employees. On average, an employee gets two to three hours of their day back into their life because they don't have to commute. That's two to three hours you can spend with your family, that you can engage in self care, that you can run your errands, whatever it is you choose to do.

What advantages does remote work have outside of work?

One beneficiary in a remote workforce model is the economy. When those employees get those two to three hours back, guess what they're doing: they're spending money that was not being put into the economy before.

Another beneficiary is the environment. During this pandemic, there are around 17% less carbon emissions being emitted into the atmosphere and the environment. Climate change is impacted and our environment is a winner in a remote workforce model.

How can employers ensure a seamless remote work experience?

There are three fundamental technologies on the marketplace that every employer should immediately start using. Number one, video conferencing. We're all using it, it works just fine, you’ve got a lot of options in the marketplace from Skype to Zoom, to Google. Number two, file sharing. You have all kinds of file sharing software and services out there in the marketplace. Number three, remote workforce management and coordination software. All you have to do is implement them, and the risk is mitigated almost to nothing.

How can an employee approach management about working from home permanently?

Don't be afraid to ask your employer. Communicate your request very succinctly and very clearly. Let your boss know that you've thought this through. Prove to them that you have the self-discipline, that you have the loyalty, that you're trustworthy, and that you have the environment at home to be effective at working remotely. Use the fact that you've already been doing it as an affirmation, to attest to the fact that it can be done seamlessly and productively.


More than one in six young people stopped working since virus

Did you know: Since the coronavirus pandemic began, there has been more than one in six people that have stopped working. Read this blog post to learn more.


The coronavirus outbreak is hitting the young “harder and faster than any other group,” with a risk of scarring them for their working lives, according to the International Labour Organization.

More than than one in six people have stopped working since the onset of the crisis, highlighting the predicament of a cohort often subject to informal contracts, low pay and disproportionately likely to work in sectors like retail that have been shut down by the outbreak.

“The pandemic is inflicting a triple shock on young people,” the ILO said in a report on Wednesday. “Not only is it destroying their employment, but it is also disrupting education and training, and placing major obstacles in the way of those seeking to enter the labor market or to move between jobs.”

In the U.S. alone, the unemployment rate for young men aged 16–24 surged from 8.5% to 24% between February and April, while for young women it jumped from 7.5% to 29.8%. Similar trends were visible in Canada, China, Australia, and other countries, the ILO said.

Young people entering the labor market during a recession can suffer the fallout for years because they struggle to find a job or have to take one that doesn’t match their educational background.

“Long-lasting wage losses are likely to be experienced by entire cohorts of young people who have the misfortune of graduating from secondary school or university during the 2019/20 academic year,” the report found.

The ILO’s warning stands in contrast to comments made by European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde, who at an on-line event for young people on Wednesday encouraged viewers to embrace change, acquire new skills and be “prepared to do all sorts of jobs.”

SOURCE: Look, C. (28 May 2020) "More than one in six young people stopped working since virus" (Web Blog Post). Retrieved from https://www.employeebenefitadviser.com/articles/more-than-one-in-six-young-people-stopped-working-since-virus


Employees putting billions more than usual in their 401(k)s

Interesting article from BenefitsPro about employee's increased input into their 401(k)s by Ben Steverman

(Bloomberg) -- Saving for retirement requires making sacrifices now so your future self can afford to stop working later. Someday. Maybe.

It’s not news that Americans aren’t saving enough. The typical baby boomer, whose generation is just starting to retire, has a median of $147,000 in all of his retirement accounts, according to the Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies.

And if you think that’s depressing, try this on: 1 in 3 private sector workers don’t even have a retirement plan through their job.

But the new year brings with it some good news: If people do have a 401(k) plan through their employer, there’s data showing them choosing to set aside more for their later years.

On average, workers in 2015 put 6.8 percent of their salaries into 401(k) and profit-sharing plans, according to a recent survey of more than 600 plans. That’s up from 6.2 percent in 2010, the Plan Sponsor Council of America found.

An increase in retirement savings of 0.6 percentage points might not sound like much, but it represents a 10 percent rise in the amount flowing into those plans over just five years, or billions of dollars. About $7 trillion is already invested in 401(k) and other defined contribution plans, according to the Investment Company Institute.

If Americans keep inching up their contribution rate, they could end up saving trillions of dollars more. Workers in these plans are even starting to meet the savings recommendations of retirement experts, who suggest setting aside 10 percent to 15 percent of your salary, including any employer contribution, over a career.

While workers are saving more, companies have held their financial contributions steady—at least over the past few years. Employers pitched in 4.7 percent of payroll in 2015, the same as in 2013 and 2014. Even so, it’s still more than a point above their contribution rates in the aftermath of the Great Recession.

One reason workers participating in these plans are probably saving more: They’re being signed up automatically—no extra paperwork required. Almost 58 percent of plans surveyed make their sign-up process automatic, requiring employees to take action only if they don’t want to save.

Automatic enrollment can make a big difference. In such plans, 89 percent of workers are making contributions, the survey finds, while 75 percent make 401(k) contributions under plans without auto-enrollment. Auto-enrolled employees save more, 7.2 percent of their salaries vs. 6.3 percent for those who weren’t auto-enrolled.

Companies are also automatically hiking worker contribution rates over time, a feature called “auto-escalation” that’s still far less common than auto-enrollment. Less than a quarter of plans auto-escalate all participants, while 16 percent boost contributions only for workers who are deemed to be not saving enough.

A key appeal of automatic 401(k) plans is that they don’t require participating workers to be investing experts. Unless employees choose otherwise, their money is automatically put in a recommended investment.

And, at more and more 401(k) and profit-sharing plans, this takes the form of a target-date fund, a diversified mix of investments chosen based on a participant’s age or years until retirement. Two-thirds of plans offer target-date funds, the survey found, double the number in 2006.

The share of workers’ assets in target-date funds is up fivefold as a result.

A final piece of good news for workers is that they’re keeping more of every dollar they earn in a 401(k) account. Fees on 401(k) plans are falling, according to a recent analysis released by BrightScope and the Investment Company Institute.

The total cost of running a 401(k) plan is down 17 percent since 2009, to 0.39 percent of plan assets in 2014. The cost of the mutual funds inside 401(k)s has dropped even faster, by 28 percent to an annual expense ratio of 0.53 percent in 2015.

See the original article Here.

Source:

Steverman B. (2017 January 5). Employees putting billions more than usual in their 401(k)s [Web blog post]. Retrieved from address http://www.benefitspro.com/2017/01/05/employees-putting-billions-more-than-usual-in-thei?ref=hp-news&page_all=1


How millennials are redefining retirement

Great article from Employee Benefits Advisor about millennials effect on their future retirement by Paula Aven Gladych

Millennials are redefining what retirement will look like when it is their time to join the ranks.

According to a study by Bank of America Merrill Edge, 83% of millennials plan to work into retirement, which is the exact opposite of current retirees, the majority of whom say they aren’t working in retirement or have never worked during their retirement.

“That’s a fundamental shift. They may never see the end to their working days if they don’t make some changes,” says Joe Santos, regional sales executive with Merrill Edge in Los Angeles. “We have seen over the past few years consistent insecurity and uncertainty around retirement planning. With millennials and Gen X, the struggle is competing with life priorities.”

Seventy-nine percent of Gen Xers and 64% of baby boomers also expect to work in retirement.

Half of millennials ages 18 to 24 believe they will need to take on a second job to be able to save for retirement, compared to 25% for all respondents, according to the Merrill Edge Report for fall 2016.

Despite the fact that millennials are not very optimistic about their ability to save for retirement, 70% of millennial respondents and 72% of Gen Xers described their investment approach as hands on, compared to 60% of all respondents. Millennials use online and mobile apps and express interest in saving for retirement, Santos says.

Nearly one-third of millennials say they are do-it-yourselfers when it comes to making investments, compared to 19% of all respondents.

“This growing sense of self-reliance among millennials, however, seems to be increasing the desire for further financial guidance and validation from professionals,” the report found, with 31% of millennials saying they are interested in seeking to hire a financial adviser within the next five years. Forty-two percent of them said they were most open to receiving online financial advice.

Talking about finances is still taboo, the report indicates. Only 54% of survey respondents said they would feel comfortable discussing their personal finances with their spouse or partner; 39% said they would feel comfortable discussing their finances with a financial professional.

“That uncertainty causes them to underestimate what is needed for retirement. If you think of student loans for millennials, they are struggling with student loan debt. It makes retirement seem so far out there,” Santos says.

The majority of those surveyed felt they needed less than $1 million in savings to achieve a comfortable retirement, but 19% of respondents didn’t know how much they needed to save for retirement.

“And even with these estimates, two in five (40%) of today’s non-retirees say reaching their magic number by retirement will either be ‘difficult’ or ‘virtually unattainable,’” the report found. Seventeen percent of respondents said they are relying on luck to get them by.

Because millennials are so young, they have an opportunity to do all the right things so that they can have a secure retirement, Santos says. “I love seeing that they have the interest to learn about retirement by taking a step-by-step approach.”

He added that the last thing people want to do is start saving too late.

“It is a challenge when you think about so many folks straddled with debt, especially student loan debt, and growing longevity. The sandwich generation makes these milestones seem unattainable, but with some proper planning, we can get there,” he says.

The survey of 1,045 mass affluent respondents throughout the United States was conducted by Braun Research from Sept. 24 to Oct. 5, 2016. Mass affluent individuals are those with investable assets between $50,000 and $250,000 or those ages 18 to 34 who have investable assets between $20,000 and $50,000 with an annual income of at least $50,000.

See the original article Here.

Source:

Gladych P.(2016 December 30). How millennials are redefining retirement[Web blog post]. Retrieved from address http://www.employeebenefitadviser.com/news/how-millennials-are-redefining-retirement?utm_campaign=eba_retirement_final-dec%2030%202016&utm_medium=email&utm_source=newsletter&eid=909e5836add2a914a8604144bea27b68


What’s employers’ No. 1 concern in 2017?

Does the new year have you worried? Check out this great article from Employee Benefits Advisor about employers concerns in 2017 by Phil Albinus

In the aftermath of President-elect Donald Trump’s surprise victory last month, the top employee benefit concern among employers remains their role on the Affordable Care Act. According to a survey of 800 employers conducted by brokerage solution provider Aon, nearly half — 48% — responded that the employer mandate is their biggest concern for the new administration.

According to J.D. Piro, head of the Aon’s law group, the concern stems from whether or not Trump will repeal and replace Obamacare and what plans the 115th Congress has for Medicare.

“It’s all of those [issues] and the employer mandate which has the reporting obligations, the disclosure obligations, 1094 and 1095 forms and the service tracking ... all of that goes into the ACA. The concern is, is it going to be dropped, expanded or modified in some way?” Piro tells EBN.

“Employers have all sorts of questions about that,” he adds.

The employer mandate was by far the top employer concern, according to the Aon survey, which was administered after the election. “Prescription drug costs” received 17% of responses and the “excise tax” received 15% of respondents’ attention. “Tax exclusion limitations on employer-sponsored healthcare” garnered 10% of votes while “paid leave laws” and “employee wellness programs” trailed at 8% and 2%, respectively.

The results didn’t surprise Piro. The employer mandate “is something employers had to get up to speed on and learn how to administer in a very short period of time. It was so complex that it was delayed for a year. It’s not yet part of the framework, and people are still addressing how to comply with it,” he says.

Looking ahead

While Piro declined to make any predictions about what the new administration will accomplish in terms of healthcare, he does think Congress will act quickly, if at least symbolically.

“I think something will happen in 2017. The most likely scenario is Republicans will pass some sort of repeal bill in the first 100 days of the new administration, but they will put off the effective date of the repeal until 2018 or 2019,” he says. “It will be somewhere down the road so they can decide when and what the replacement is going to be.”

The sheer complexity of ACA and Medicare will not make its repeal an easy matter for either the new Trump administration or Congress.

“This is an interconnected web of laws and rulings and the ACA affects every sector of healthcare. It’s thousands of pages of regulations,” Piro says. “Repealing it is not as easy as turning off a light switch or unplugging a computer and plugging it back in again.”

“A lot of people are affected by ACA and you have to consider what the impact is going to be.”

See the original article Here.

Source:

Albinus P. (2017 January 04). What's employers' no. 1 concern in 2017 [Web blog post]. Retrieved from address http://www.employeebenefitadviser.com/news/whats-employers-no-1-concern-in-2017?utm_campaign=eba%20daily-jan%204%202017&utm_medium=email&utm_source=newsletter&eid=909e5836add2a914a8604144bea27b68


4 Things Your Company Should Consider as New Overtime Rules are Put on Hold

Great article from SHRM by Sushma Tripathi

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) is fighting a court ruling that put new FLSA (Fair Labor Standards Act) overtime regulations on hold. Last month, a district court in Texas issued a nationwide preliminary injunction blocking the DOL’s final rule that sought to raise the required salary level to qualify for white collar exemptions.

Although the DOL now seeks to lift the injunction, the overtime changes that were scheduled to take effect December 1 remain on hold for the time being.

Several possibilities exist as to what will happen next. The DOL could file a motion to stay, or suspend, the injunction during the appeals process. If the court were to grant such a motion, this would cause the rule to take effect. If no motion to stay is filed, or if such a motion is denied, the injunction will stand during the appeals process.

To add a further layer of complication, the DOL filed a motion for an expedited appeal on December 2, which motion was granted on December 8, and the DOL’s opening brief will be due on December 16, 2016. Further, the states’ brief in support of the district court’s injunction will be due on January 17, 2017 and the DOL’s reply brief will be due on January 31, 2017. We will not have a decision on the expedited appeal until sometime in February 2017. While all this plays out, it’s natural to ask: What should businesses be doing?

Here a few things to consider:

  • Rapidly assess what actions to take and what actions are possible. Many employers spent months preparing for the FLSA changes, identifying workers affected by the final regulations, and determining whether to increase their salaries to comply or reclassify them as non-exempt employees, and communicating those changes to their employees. If an employer already notified an employee of a salary increase effective December 1 or already made the change, it may be too difficult to reverse that change and communicate that the change won’t occur. You should confer with your counsel and consider whether it’s better to go ahead with your initial plans and stay the course, especially if your payroll team already processed the change.
  • Start tracking time now. The court may side with the DOL and the proposed regulations could be reinstated retroactively to the original December 1 effective date. For that reason, employers that decide not to take action to comply with the new regulations while the litigation and appeal are pending should consider directing reclassified employees to track time. This will ensure that, in the event the final rule is later upheld and overtime becomes due retroactively, employers will have an accurate record of hours worked.
  • Continue to evaluate the FLSA status of employees. While the rule is delayed, employers should continue to evaluate the FLSA status of their employees by reviewing job duties and descriptions to ensure that employees are properly classified. Whether or not the rule is upheld, employers remain subject to FLSA requirements that dictate proper job classification and payment methods. Take this opportunity to make sure employees’ duties match their job descriptions. Following the recession in 2008, in many workplaces, tasks were redistributed after layoffs and many employees took on additional duties that were never added to into their job descriptions. These employees may need to be reclassified under existing FLSA regulations.
  • Be transparent in communicating changes. In deciding how to proceed, employers are strongly advised to consult with internal or external legal counsel and other experts to discuss options available before making and communicating decisions related to this latest development. Employee relations and financial implications should be considered. Employers should also keep in mind that applicable state laws may require advance notice of any changes in pay. State laws may also govern the overtime exempt status of employees. Remember to convey to employees that it’s the law that’s causing potential changes and not your company. Otherwise, morale can be impacted if employees feel they are being demoted by being reclassified.

While we have no crystal ball and cannot predict what a Trump administration will do, one can guess that it might direct the DOL to abandon the appeal, because President-elect Trump previously stated that he thought that small businesses should be exempt from the proposed increases in minimum salary for the white-collar exemptions. The Trump administration might prefer to take a more gradual approach to raising the minimum salary levels, instead of the almost 100 percent increase contemplated by the DOL’s rule, or may prefer no increase at all. So, our advice to employers is to take this time to make sure you’re in compliance with existing wage and hour laws and ensure you have employees classified properly. There’s no time like the present.

See the original article Here.

Source:

Tripathi S. (2016 December 14). 4 things your company should consider as new overtime rules are put on hold[Web blog post]. Retrieved from address http://blog.shrm.org/blog/4-things-your-company-should-consider-as-new-overtime-rules-are-put-on-hold


Final Rule Released: Fair Labor Standards Act, Overtime Regulation

From the Society for Human Resources.

Today, the Department of Labor (DOL) released its final regulations making changes to Part 541 governing overtime exemptions under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). As you know, SHRM leads the employer coalition, the Partnership to Protect Workplace Opportunity, on the rule and SHRM members have shared their views on numerous occasions with Congress and the Administration through testimony, listening sessions, comments on the regulation, and thousands of letters to policymakers.

While SHRM appreciates the Administration’s attention to some of the concerns relayed by SHRM members, we are disappointed that the final rule includes a significant increase to the salary threshold and automatic increases in the future. These will present considerable challenges to employees and employers. This is why SHRM-supported legislation to block the rule, pending a full economic analysis of the changes to overtime regulations, is still needed. This legislation also contains critical provisions preventing the rule from including automatic updates to the salary threshold.


SHRM is reviewing the final rule and will provide information and resources over the next few days to help you understand the changes and prepare to implement the rule in your workplace.  

 



In the meantime, here are the key elements of the new regulation that you need to know now:


1. Salary Threshold Changed to $913/week ($47,476 per Year)

This threshold doubles the current salary threshold level. While this level is slightly lower than the threshold in the proposed rule, it still encompasses many employees that are currently classified as exempt. SHRM was disappointed that DOL did not offer a more reasonable increase and set the threshold, as it has in the past, at a level designed to encompass those employees that are clearly 
not engaged in exempt-type work.

2. Automatic Salary Threshold Increases Every 3 Years (Not Annually) to Maintain Level at 40th Percentile in Lowest-Wage Census Region
DOL reduced the frequency of the automatic increases in response to concerns raised by SHRM and others. Instead of annual increases, the threshold will be adjusted every 3 years to maintain the level at the 40th percentile of full-time salaried workers in the lowest-wage Census region. Automatically updating the salary threshold, however, does not allow the government to take into account changing economic conditions, specific impact on certain industries, or regional differences. It also denies the public the ability to have input on the threshold as required by the regulatory process.


3. Duties Test is Unchanged
The absence of a duties test change is a significant win for the thousands of SHRM members who expressed concern in this area. DOL did not make changes to the standard duties test.


4. Effective Date is December 1, 2016.
SHRM advocated for a longer implementation period than the standard 60 days and the final rule provides additional time for employers to prepare. With the rule going into effect on December 1, 2016, HR professionals should review their current workforce immediately to determine which employees are affected, whether to re-classify those employees, and execute a communications strategy. HR should keep in mind the periodic adjustments and set a regular review process.


5. Highly Compensated Employee (HCE) Exemption Is Now $134,004 Per Year
The final rule retains the methodology in the proposed rule setting the threshold at the 90th percentile of full-time salaried workers nationally.


6. Stay Tuned for SHRM Member Resources…
• SHRM Webcast – 
Understanding DOL's New Overtime RuleRegister Now for the Thursday, May 19, 2 p.m. ET webcast!
• SHRM Special Report for HR – 
coming soon! Look for an upcoming SHRM summary of the final rule with tips on compliance. Visit SHRM’s Overtime Resource Page for additional resources.
• SHRM’s 
2016 Annual Conference -- From the final FLSA overtime regulations to health care to performance management to the latest innovations in HR, you’ll get the practical tools and resources you need to solve your toughest HR challenges.

7. Advocacy in Congress is Even More Important
While the final rule contains some limited improvements, it is critical for Congress to pass the Protecting Workplace Advancement and Opportunity Act (S. 2707 and H.R. 4773), which would nullify this rule and require DOL to perform an economic analysis of how changes to overtime regulations will impact nonprofits, small businesses, and employers in other vulnerable industry sectors before issuing a new rule. Visit 
SHRM’s call to action to quickly and easily send an email to your members of Congress to ask that they cosponsor this important workplace legislation.

 


 

NEXT STEPS:  As referenced above, Congress will continue to try to nullify the rule through legislation requiring DOL to conduct a robust economic analysis, by refusing to fund the rule’s enforcement, and other means. Given the breadth of the rule, SHRM is considering all policy options.

SHRM has taken a leading role in educating the Administration and Congress on the rule’s impact on the workplace. As a member, you can trust that SHRM will keep you up-to-date on every critical detail of the regulations. We’ll also be here to answer your specific questions as you begin to implement these changes over the coming weeks – this is just one way your SHRM membership works for you.