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!

To Term or Not to Term…

Emily has been an administrative assistant working at her office for about two years and has never had any issues with her performance. Over the past six months, her attendance has started to become problematic and she has been making a number of mistakes in her work.

Her supervisor, Phillip, notices these increasing issues, and sits down with her to try to determine the cause of these changes and what the company can do to help her. Emily discloses that she is going through a divorce and the past few months have been incredibly difficult for her. She apologizes that it has affected her work, and informs Phillip of her intent to improve. Phillip documents this conversation and gives Emily the opportunity to correct the issues.

A month later, her performance has slightly improved, but Emily is still making too many mistakes to not be addressed and her attendance is still an issue. Phillip decides to administer a written warning, notes the previous conversation, addresses performance and attendance standards, and details expectations going forward. He places Emily on a Performance Improvement Plan with a date to follow up in two weeks.

The progressive steps towards rehabilitation proved to be effective in this situation, and Emily began to show signs of improvement in both areas. Balancing a strong focus on working with the employee in their professional improvement coupled with warranted discipline was an effective approach as it provided both the empathy and strong direction that was necessary.

In many situations, supervisors do not take the time to sit down with their employees to go over performance standards and expectations, and rather jump straight to disciplinary action. Often these knee-jerk decisions are clouded by emotions, such as frustration with your employee’s performance that reflects poorly on you as a manger. If your anger is blinding you from finding solutions, take a breath and reflect on the situation from a problem-solving mentality.

Start the process with a conversation with the employee about the issue with a rehabilitative approach. Focus on helping your employee build a path to success rather than holding their failure over them. This problem-solving mentality helps give those employees who are struggling the chance to improve and succeed, while at the same time holds them accountable for their past performance and actions.

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.

Nuts-and-Bolts: Organization in the Workplace

We all suffer from bouts of disorganization in the workplace from time to time, some more than others. While a  bit of untidiness isn’t typically cause for concern, a seriously cluttered desk can cause more issues than an unsightly view for your coworkers. Staying neat in the workplace can affect morale, perceptions of professionalism, and overall efficiency. (more…)

A New Year, the Same Drum

The start of a new year brings to mind for most of us new resolutions and goals. While nearly everyone can benefit from making changes at both a professional and personal level, a reflection of last year’s professional work is often glossed over. Even though we start a new year, many of us are still beating the same old drum, the same rhythm, the same routine. (more…)