SPECIAL INFORMATION for NY STATE EMPLOYERS
As many of you are aware, New York State has raised its minimum wage for employers across the state. The important thing to keep in mind that the minimum wage requirement is different for employers in different parts of the state. Here is a summary of the changes based on location:
New York City
11 or more employees: $11.00
10 or fewer employees: $10.50
Nassau, Suffolk and Westchester: $10.00
Remainder of New York State: $9.70
IMPORTANT INFORMATION REGARDING OVERTIME:
We have been reporting about the changes that the Federal Department of Labor were making to the salary threshold for managerial and administrative exempt employees. The federal changes were put on hold by a court order and we do not have any further information on the status at this time.
However, New York State has raised the salary thresholds for exempt status and all New York employers must comply with these new salary amounts in order to consider an employee for exempt status:
New York City
11 or more employees: $825/week or $42,900 annually
10 or fewer employees: $787.50/week or $40,950 annually
Nassau, Suffolk and Westchester: $750/week or $39,000 annually
Remainder of New York State: $727.50/week or $37,830 annually
There are also new requirements for fast food employees, restaurant and hospitality employees, and building services employees. If you have any questions regarding these categories, we will be happy to provide you with more detailed information.
WELLNESS ON A SHOESTRING !
Did you know…
Each BMI point improvement in an over-weigh employee (that’s about 3% body weight), reduces healthcare costs more than $250 a year.
That 75% of the cost associated with chronic disease could be avoided through proper prevention, testing, and management.
That obese employees (BMI 35+) average over $4,500 higher medical claims annually than employees with a healthy BMI (20-25)
That nearly 35% of our workforce is obese or morbidly obese.
Why small businesses should invest in wellness.
Around 80% of our employed population works for small businesses with 200 or less employees. The vast majority of these companies have fully insured healthcare plans. For those that are community rated, their employee’s actual health does not impact the premiums because they are part of a larger pool. For those groups that are not community rated, where claims may impact their rates, it’s often too difficult (if not impossible) to justify the cost of a wellness program when the benefit at renewal is neither defined or guaranteed.
So why should any small business invest in wellness? You should invest in wellness if you;
To stabilize and possibly lower rates, the overall health of the pool of covered lives need to be improved. The only way to do that is by having small businesses roll up their collective sleeves and takes a pro-active stance on helping employees improve their health. We’re not going to solve this healthcare problem if
80% of covered lives sit on the sidelines. It’s got to be a cultural change, and it needs to start with small businesses.
Wellness doesn’t have to cost and arm and a leg either. It doesn’t have to cost anything, other than some time, creative thinking, commitment, and knowledge. There’s social media and hundreds of free smart apps available to you. You can create a walking club, have weight loss challenges and team competitions. You can educate your employees about all the resources offered through your healthcare provider. Things like telemedicine, educational tools, and preventative services go grossly underutilized simply because employees don’t know about them or where to access them. You’re already paying for them, so not driving utilization is wasting money and exposing your employees to ill health and additional costs.
Even though small businesses won’t see an immediate return by implementing wellness, not doing so simply fosters the continuation of this unsustainable healthcare dilemma. Call it a “social conscience” or may be “social responsibility” but small business needs to be the vehicle that drives this country back to healthcare sanity. Each organization needs to take steps to help employees live healthier lives. It may take 3 or 4 years before we see the financial results, but you’ll see improvements in morale and productivity, and reductions in absenteeism from the start.
In May 2016, the Department of Labor announced revised regulations which affect the Fair Labor Standards Act’s “white collar” overtime exemptions. The new regulations increase the salary threshold needed to qualify for overtime exemption from $455/week ($23,600 per year) to $913/week ($47,476/year).
Any business that employs workers with salaries under $47,476 will be directly affected by the new regulations and needs to consider their best course of action for each affected employee.
It is imperative that you are prepared to impliment these new changes effective December 1, 2016 or you will be in violation.