2017 Minimum Wage Changes

Many states will be increasing their minimum wage in 2017.  Check the list below to make sure you are in compliance in all states which you have employees.  Most of these changes are effective January 1, 2017 unless otherwise indicated.

  • Alaska: $9.80
  • Arizona: $10.00
  • Arkansas: $8.50
  • California: $10.50 (employers with 25 or less employees will remain at $10)
  • Colorado: $9.30
  • Connecticut: $10.10
  • District of Columbia: $12.50 (effective July 1, 2017) ($3.33 for tipped employees)
  • Florida: $8.10 ($5.08 for tipped employees)
  • Hawaii: $9.25
  • Maine: $9.00 (effective January 7, 2017)
  • Maryland: $9.25 (effective July 1, 2017)
  • Massachusetts: $11.00 ($3.75 for tipped employees)
  • Michigan: $8.90 ($3.38 for tipped employees)
  • Missouri: $7.70 ($3.85 for tipped employees)
  • Montana: $8.15
  • New Jersey: $8.44
  • New York: $9.70 (effective December 31, 2016) ($11.00 for employers in NYC with 11 or more employees; $10.50 for employees in NYC with 10 or fewer employees; $10.00 for Long Island and Westchester, $10.75 for fast food employees outside of NYC; $12.00 for fast food employees in NYC)
  • Ohio: $8.15
  • Oregon: $10.25 (effective July 1, 2017)
  • Rhode Island: $3.89 for tipped employees (non-tipped employees have no change, remains at $9.60)
  • South Dakota: $8.65 ($4.325 for tipped employees)
  • Vermont: $10.00
  • Washington: $11.00

Note: There may be local wage requirements that are higher than the state minimum wage which would apply to your business.

New Overtime Rule Halted by Federal Judge

In a surprising move, the new overtime rule, scheduled to raise the minimum salary threshold for exempt employees on December 1, 2016, has been blocked by Texas Judge Amos L. Mazzant III just ten days before the scheduled effective date.

After the new rule was announced, usdol_seal_circa_2015_svg21 states filed a lawsuit against the Department of Labor. The case was consolidated with another lawsuit filed by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and other business groups which also objected to the new regulation.

Even after the lawsuits were filed and consolidated, it was not expected that a decision would be made prior the December 1st effective date.  Many are surprised by the decision made by Judge Mazzant who was appointed by President Obama.

The decision to block the rule, a preliminary injunction, doesn’t completely eliminate the rule, but rather delays the implementation until the court has a chance to further review whether the Department of Labor exceeded its authority by raising the minimum salary threshold for exempt employees too high.  There is a chance, especially after president-elect Donald Trump takes office, that the rule could be overhauled or eliminated completely, but employers should prepare for the chance that the rule is implemented in the future.

At this time, and until further notice, the minimum salary for exempt employees will remain at $455 per week instead of changing to the scheduled $913 per week on December 1st.

Massachusetts Veterans Day Paid Leave

Governor Charlie Baker of Massachusetts signed into law An Act Relative to Housing, Operations, Military Service, and Enrichment (also known as “The HOME Act”) on July 14, 2016.  One of the provisions of the HOME Act requires employers with 50 or more employees to provide paid leave to qualified veterans on Veterans Day each year to participate in Veterans Day activities. Continue reading

3 Common Myths Concerning Exempt and Salary Employees

With the new minimum salary threshold for exempt employees taking place later this year (Read more about that here), employers should concentrate on mausdol_seal_circa_2015_svgking sure they are in compliance with the new rules and also confirm that their exempt employees are correctly classified.  In addition, employers should make sure they fully understand how exempt employees should be paid.

To help employers with understanding payment of exempt employees, we’re debunking three common myths associated with exempt and salary employees.

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Can Employees Be Paid Salary to Avoid Paid Overtime? Understanding the FLSA Exemptions

usdol_seal_circa_2015_svgCan Employees Be Paid Salary to Avoid Paying Overtime?

This is a common question employers have – and not understanding the rules regarding exempt and non-exempt status, established by the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), can land employers in hot water if employees are misclassified.

With the impending changes to the minimum salary threshold for exempt employees (Read more about that here!), this is a great opportunity for employers to review all current exempt and salary employees to make sure they are properly classified.

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Increased Social Security Payroll Taxes in 2017 for High Wage Workers

On October 18, 2016 the Social Security Administration (SSA) announced that the maximum amount of wages subject to the Social Security payroll tax will i2017-tax-update-1ncrease in 2017 by $8,700 to $127,200.  This adjustment, which takes place on January 1, 2017, is calculated by the SSA based on average wage increases.

Social Security payroll tax is collected with Medicare payroll tax as the Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA) tax.  In a traditional employment relationship, FICA taxes are paid by both employers and employees.  Employers and employees both pay 6.2% of taxable wage for the Social Security portion up to the annual maximum level and pay 1.45% of taxable wage for the Medicare portion.  There is no limit on the Medicare portion, however under a provision of the Affordable Care Act, highly compensated employees are required to pay an additional 0.9% in Medicare tax for all wages over $200,000 per year.  Employers are not required to pay this additional Medicare tax.

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California Employers Must Provide Notice to Employees of Rights to Domestic Violence Leave

On September 14th, California Governor Jerry Brown signed a new bill, AB 237employmentlawupdate7, which requires employers with 25 or more employees to provide notice to their employees of their right to a protected leave of absence for domestic violence, stalking or sexual assault.

By no later than July 1, 2017 the California Labor Commissioner is expected to develop and publish a form to be used to provide this notice to employees at the time of hire and at any time during employment upon employee request. Continue reading