The past year, the past decade, has proven to be monumental in updates and changes to employment and labor law. Most recently, improvements in pay equity, the #MeToo movement, modifications to EEO law, and long-awaited implementations to sick and medical leave laws have created positive changes for employees and employers alike.
What do we now have to look for and anticipate in the upcoming year? Here is a short list of what the start of this new decade hold for us as employers in this rapidly changing employment world (particularly at the Federal level, and for those employers on the West coast):
- Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) Final Overtime Ruling – Effective January 1, 2020, the new salary threshold for exempt employees has been raised from $455 a week to $684 a week (or $35,568 annually).
- Tip Sharing Rules – Again on the docket, towards the end of 2019, the DOL announced a new, proposed rule that would make it easier for employees to engage in “tip pooling”, a practice in which employees who receive minimum wage and customarily receive tips share those tips with “back of house” employees (e.g., cooks, dishwashers, etc.) who are not usually tipped.
- California Assembly Bill 5 – Effective January 1, 2020, this new law will require companies to reclassify some of their independent contractors as employees. To maintain current classifications, independent contractors must meet a new set of established criteria. Additionally, certain professions are commonly exempt from this change, including physicians, lawyers, real estate agents, and engineers. This change will require employers to provide paid time off, overtime compensation, health benefits, etc.
- Oregon’s Employer Accommodation for Pregnancy Act – Oregon’s Fair Employment Practices Act will be expanded on January 1, 2020 to provide reasonable accommodations to pregnant employees who are employed at organizations with 6 or more employees. Reasonable accommodations may include changes to schedules, equipment, working assignments, etc. While already prohibited from pregnancy discrimination, employers are additionally prohibited from denying employment opportunities or taking adverse employment actions, failing or refusing to make reasonable accommodations, requiring an applicant or employee to accept an unnecessary accommodation, or requiring an employee to take family or any other leave if a reasonable accommodation can be made.
- Washington’s Paid Family and Medical Leave – Starting January 1, 2020, employees in Washington will be entitled to take up to 18 weeks of paid family and medical leave each year. Washington state is the fifth state in the U.S. to implement such legislation.
HRCentral will keep our clients and colleagues updated on final rulings to pending legislation that will directly affect their organizations and employees. Please contact us with any questions regarding these updates, or to make any necessary updates to your employment policies and documentation.
A new decade! What an opportunity to approach goals and intentions with a fresh outlook. A clean slate, a chance to really focus on making changes in countless facets of our lives. When it comes to making New Year’s resolutions, we all start out with genuinely good intentions, but how many New Year’s resolutions have already faded away, even in the first week of the new year?
One of the primary reasons we are inclined to set new goals and start the year fresh in the first place is because we want to change a bad habit, start a new habit, or simply want to do something different. The majority of us set personal goals for improvement around this time of year, but how can you be your very best self in the workplace? What changes do you want to make to start this new decade off on the right foot?
When setting personal resolutions for yourself, consider applying one (or more) of these resolutions towards your professional goals for 2020:
- Stagnation– It happens to be best of us. There are times when we get bored, but when it extends to a pattern of being content to be bored, that is an issue. If you are uninspired and unmotivated to perform, make it a point to challenge yourself to try new things, learn new tasks, and do what you can to keep busy and out of the slump that results in a lack of productivity.
- Gossiping and Complaining – Enough is enough. Whining about small and insignificant things, engaging in office drama, and participating in talking behind someone’s back is not only unprofessional, but incredibly unproductive. Make it a resolution to not partake in office gossip and be the bigger person, simply walk away from toxic conversations whether that be gossiping about a fellow coworker or complaining about simple policy changes. Keep the negativity at bay.
- Being Critical of Others – The same concept that applies to office gossip applies to criticizing others. As a manager, constructive criticism is sometimes necessary, but make it a point to keep unnecessary criticism to a minimum. If you are not a supervisor, it really isn’t your place to criticize the work of others. Having constructive conversations with colleagues is one thing; picking on and pointing out mistakes just for the sake of making yourself feel better is a bad workplace habit that we should all strive to break or avoid.
- Poor Time Management – It is a habit that is far too easy to fall into. Mindlessly scrolling down social media news feeds when there is a lull in the work day. Procrastinating on a work project that isn’t “that” time sensitive. Focus on making the most out of every minute. When you really strive to find balance in your work duties, you’ll find that you won’t reach a point of burn out as a result of pushing everything off to the last minute, at which point you’re overwhelmed and overworked.
Take advantage of this fresh start to the new year, this new decade, and say goodbye to bad habits that may be hindering your chances at success and happiness in the workplace. Good workplace habits ensure productivity and can improve your professional image and reputation. Remember, you can develop good workplace routines at any time, not just at the start of new decade, a new year, a new week, or a new month. Always strive to do better, and be better.