Employment news your agency needs to know

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Two new employment related issues are worth your attention, both as an employer and as an advisor to your commercial clients: the proposed rule change for the overtime threshold and an EEOC report on an uptick in sexual harassment claims since #MeToo. Learn what you need to know about these issues.

New overtime rule pending

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has issued its plan for a new overtime eligibility threshold. It's important to be aware of these pending changes both for your own agency and so that you can be aware of issues affecting your commercial clients. HR Daily Advisor posts that it's time for employers to plan for $35,000 overtime threshold. This is a significant increase from the current threshold of $23,660 a year, but also a significant drop from the Obama-era threshold of about $46,000, which was rejected by the courts. It kicks in at just under $17 per hour.

Under the new proposal, employees would have to earn at least $679 a week ($35,308 a year) to be exempt from overtime pay for any hours worked over 40 in a workweek. HR Daily Advisor says that:

Although the DOL’s new plan changes the “salary test” for overtime exemption, it makes no change to the “duties test” that also is used to determine overtime eligibility. To be exempt from the overtime pay requirement, employees must earn more than the overtime salary threshold and perform work that is classified as executive, administrative, or professional in nature.

As for timing, the rule is under public comment period for 60 days and could face legal challenges, but barring that, it is expected to go into effect in early 2020.

For more information, see CFO: New overtime rules coming up fast: Your best ways to prepare now.

Sexual harassment suits

Are your commercial clients adequately covered for Employment Practices Liability Insurance (EPLI)? Every employer should be in the #MeTo era. According to HR Dailly Advisor, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has seen an uptick in harassment claims since the #MeToo movement. A review of data showed a more than 50% increase in lawsuits challenging sexual harassment over fiscal year (FY) 2017 and an increase of more than 12% in filed charges during the same period. HR Daily Advisor offers these thoughts to employers:

Accordingly, it’s imperative to make it known that bad behavior won’t be tolerated at any level in your organization and that all allegations of a hostile work environment will be fully investigated. You shouldn’t simply give lip service to your antiharassment policies. Moreover, you must promptly remedy all meritorious claims so the misconduct won’t be ongoing or repeated. The more employees feel safe and comfortable reporting incidents of harassment in any form and any level of severity, the more likely perpetrators will understand that you take harassment seriously.

It's a good idea to have an anti harassment policy, but having a strong policy isn’t enough. See: 8 Elements Your Sexual Harassment Policy Must Have.

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About Renaissance Alliance

Renaissance Alliance is the premier alliance for independent property casualty agencies. Founded by agents for agents in 1999, we are a pioneer in agency groupings, offering far more than expanded markets and profit share. Distinct from agency aggregators, we provide state of the art technology solutions, a full-time staff of more than 90 industry experts and a proprietary agency growth acceleration process that delivers superlative results.

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