Last year New York State made significant changes to its wage orders resulting in increases to the State’s minimum wage, white collar overtime exemption salary thresholds, tip, meal and lodging credits, and uniform allowances. The latest changes go into effect on December 31, 2017. We quickly summarize the minimum wage and overtime salary threshold changes below, but urge you to visit our prior post here for more in-depth coverage, including best practices for compliance.
Since a Texas federal judge blocked the U.S. Department of Labor’s overtime rule from taking effect in November, human resource managers, payroll professionals and employment attorneys (including over here at Employment Matters) have been abuzz about the fact that, at least for now, employers do not need to make sweeping changes to their compensation practices to comply with the rule. What has been less discussed, however, is the impact on New York employers of the New York State Department of Labor’s amendments to New York’s Wage Orders, which become effective on Saturday, December 31, 2016, and which will, among other things, significantly increase the State’s minimum wage rate as well as its the minimum salary thresholds for individuals classified as exempt executives and administrative employees.
The NYSDOL had proposed these changes several months ago and the comment period ended back on December 3rd. But the final rule was issued just yesterday, unchanged from its proposed form. With the clock ticking, New York employers must and should pay immediate attention to these changes and should act quickly to fulfill their ongoing notice and posting obligations while adjusting compensation levels accordingly. We summarize the Wage Order amendments below.
One of the few “wins” for employers under the DOL’s new overtime rule was that employers are now allowed to apply “nondiscretionary incentive payments” to meet up to 10 percent of the new salary threshold. This change could prove very important for employers who pay employees on a commission basis or who use other incentive-based compensation.
But what qualifies as a nondiscretionary incentive payment? What options do employers have in changing their compensation plans to ensure compliance with the new rule? And what could be the unintended consequences of those changes? This post looks at this new rule and attempts to answer some of those questions.