New DOL Standards Simplify Perks, Elevate Wages
After two-plus years of deliberation, the United States Department of Labor (DOL) has finalized several key changes to salaries, pay rates, tip rules, overtime pay and minimum wage totals. Set to be finalized at different stages throughout January 2020, the new standards will allow BSCs more flexibility to provide employee perks while also putting more money in the pockets of custodians, as outlined by the BSCAI Monday HR Minute.
The most significant change for exempt employees is an increase to the exempt salary threshold, which will be effective Jan. 1, 2020. The new standard, which hasn’t changed since 2004, will elevate weekly totals from $455 per week up to $684 — a rate that would total out to $35,568 annually for a full-year employee.
For non-exempt employees, the calculation of regular pay rates for employees has also been modified, specifically regarding perks that have been deemed either mandatory or excludable when calculating time-and-a-half overtime rates. The new standards, which will be effective Jan. 15, 2020, are intended to simplify perk and benefit offerings for businesses. Among the perks and benefits that employees can now offer without the risk of additional overtime liability include:
— The cost of providing certain parking benefits, wellness programs, onsite specialist treatment, gym access and fitness classes, certain tuition benefits, and adoption assistance
— Payments for unused paid leave, including paid sick leave or paid time off
— Reimbursed expenses including cellphone plans, credentialing exam fees, organization membership dues, and travel
— Certain sign-on bonuses and certain longevity bonuses
— Contributions to benefit plans for accident, unemployment, legal services, or other events that could cause future financial hardship or expense
Minimum wage increases were also finalized for multiple states, effective Jan. 1, 2020
— Alaska: $10.19
— Arizona: $12.00
— Arkansas: $10.00
— California: $12.00 for small employers
— Florida: $8.56
— Illinois: $9.25
— Maine: $12.00
— Maryland: $11.00
— Michigan: $9.65
— Minnesota: $10.00 for large employers; $8.15 for small employers
— Montana: $8.65
— New Jersey: $11.00 for most employers; $10.30 for seasonal, small and/or agricultural employers
— New Mexico: $9.00
— New York: $11.80
— Ohio: $8.70 for large employers; $7.25 for small employers
— South Dakota: $9.30
— Washington: $13.50
The comparatively low minimum wage of $8.56 in Florida — especially for Miami in relation to other large cities in the United States — has long been a point of contention for custodians in the area. Most recently, nearly 50 janitors took the streets of downtown Miami to protest their wages in response to a duct-taped banana display that sold for $120,000 at the local Art Basel festival. Read more on the march here.
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