2017 Employment and Labor Law Updates

As 2016 draws to a close, it a great time to review upcoming labor and employment law updates that will take effect in the next year and determine how to best prepare your organization for any applicable changes, in addition to these changes being updated on your 2017 federal and state labor law posters.

The following federal and state employment and labor law changes are slated for 2017:


  • Exempt Salary Requirements and Federal Overtime Rule – Effective December 1, 2016, the minimum salary threshold has been raised to $47,476 annually ($913 per week). Employees making less than this will be subject to overtime pay.
    • Note: As of November 22, 2016, a preliminary injunction has been filed, delaying the Department of Labor’s overtime rule and exempt salary requirements. Additional details will be provided pending details regarding this injunction waiting to be released.
  • FLSA (2016 update) – Updates include new information: discussing the consequences of classifying employees incorrectly as independent contractors, the rights of nursing mothers, enforcement of the FLSA by the DOL, and information relating to tip credits.
  • Federal Polygraph (2016 update) – Updates include changes in contact information for the DOL and the removal of the reference of the penalty amount for a violation of this law.


  • No updates at this time.


  • Minimum Wage Increase – The minimum wage for Washington is set to increase from $9.47 per hour to $9.53 per hour on January 1, 2017.


  • Minimum Wage Increase – The minimum wage for California is set to increase from $10.00 per hour to $10.50 per hour on January 1, 2017.

HRCentral will contact all of our current clients with regards to making any necessary changes to handbooks, manuals, and other affected employment documentation (including periodic labor law poster updates throughout the year).

Contact HRCentral today by email at office@hrcentral.com or by phone at 800.574.3282 to get your combined federal and state labor law posters ordered today!

Not Born to Lead

Very few people are born to lead. Leadership is a skill that is earned through perseverance and practice. Every one of us have the potential to be a leader and part of that life-time journey to leadership includes practicing and refining the characteristics and traits the embody a leader. While there are many characteristics that make each of us up, below are five basic traits you can start practicing today.

Good Leaders are responsible. In our June 16th and June 23rd blog posts, we talked about Stepping up to the Plate taking Ownership.  These are two examples of being a responsible leader. As leaders, we have to continually demonstrate responsibility by caring for those around us, caring for our business or organization, and caring for our community. This means taking the appropriate steps and actions to ensure continued success.

We are often faced with challenges that require us to step back and take a breath. An exceptional leader demonstrates patience every day. Whenever we interact with other people, we are bound to get into situations that are stressful or have conflict. A leader steps up and is patient when working with problems and with those around them.

Along with patience, a good leader needs to be flexible and creative when handling all situations. It is not uncommon to be faced with a project that didn’t go as planned. We have to avoid being rigid with the original plan and be prepared to think creatively and maintain flexibility when approaching problems or hurdles. I often look at my hurdles and my clients as if it is legal and ethical (see our blog post on ethics) and if we can find a way to make it work.

Communicate, communicate, communicate! Communication is a skill that I can’t over emphasize. A good leader knows how, when, and what to communicate. Often we have information to share or need information to complete tasks or goals, but we still drop the ball. Almost all conflicts stem from misunderstandings or different perceptions. A good leader can communicate using necessary channels (e.g. verbal, written, etc.) in a way that not only gathers or disseminates the right information, but also builds up those around them.

Finally, a good leader carries not only a presence but also humility around them. A good leader doesn’t act standoffish but rather makes everyone around them feel accepted and desired. A great approach is to look at everyone you come into contact with as someone who knows more about something than you do.

Practice these traits on a regular basis and when you drop the ball (and you will) take it as a learning opportunity and forgive yourself and those around you.

You can be a leader, but beware this is a life learning skill that is rarely truly mastered and will nearly always take continued practice.

Stepping Up to the Plate

Edward is an executive in his organization and his team has just landed a new client which has resulted in a large project load with a strict deadline. Over the course of 3 weeks, his team has worked diligently to ensure the project stays on track and smaller deadlines get met. Unexpectedly, one of Edward’s employees is in a car accident and has to take a medical leave of absence resulting in a 6-week absence. Though the remaining group is trying diligently to delegate tasks accordingly, assignments are soon not being completed in a timely manner and there is a risk of the final deadline not being met.

With a few weeks left until the project completion date, Edward makes some changes to his current work load to accommodate the need to help his team. He manages to reschedule other projects to allow him the time necessary to work alongside his team in place of the absent employee to get the job done. As the project reaches completion, Edward works a few late nights with his crew and proves to them through is actions that their work is appreciated and valued, and nothing is beneath even the most senior of managers.

One of the key characteristics exhibited by strong leaders is leading by example. When you expect your employees to perform a certain way, it helps keep morale and productivity high when they can see that you practice what you preach and are willing get down to the grind to do the same work if necessary.

Set the example that you want your employees to follow. Stepping up to the plate and working alongside your employees makes them see that you believe in what they do, that their work is valued, and at the end of the day you are truly a team player.

What is a “Good” Relationship?

It’s the month of February and with Valentine’s Day looming, relationships are a force to be reckoned with. Just as they are in your personal life, establishing and maintaining successful relationships in the workplace is an important aspect in the success of your career. (more…)

Change Can be a Good Thing!

We have been discussing the concept of “change” in depth this month. New Year’s resolutions and goal setting, recognizing room for improvement, organizing your office and workspace, and so many other factors tie into positive, professional changes in the workplace. While setting and striving to achieve personal, individual goals is something we can all constantly be working on, what about your organization as a whole? What changes can you implement to make your organization a better place to work?

Depending on your position within your company, your level of authority to make any pertinent changes may be limited. That being said, take a look at the day-to-day. See what modifications can be made that would affect the operations of your department, create more efficient processes, and would establish better ways to work with customers or clients and suggest them to your supervisor. A good manager should always be willing to listen to employee feedback which is vital to the success of your organization.

If you’re in a position that has the freedom to make modifications to business operations and other vital components to your organization, listen to your employees. They are the wheels that keeps your machine of a company running. Take a step back and take an objective look at your business. What areas can it see some improvement? What are your goals for your organization in the near future and what do you need to do to reach those objectives?

HRCentral is a prime example of this. We recently completely revamped our website (including our blog) in an effort to provide information about our company to current and potential clients in a sleek, streamlined, and more modern manner. We reviewed where we were at and where we wanted our website to be and implemented those changes accordingly. Such a seemingly simple change makes a huge difference in the important information we provide.

Changes don’t always have to be on a large scale, intimidating, or implemented immediately. Reviewing processes and operations and seeing what improvements can be made is a great first step in making your organization a better place to work.