On May 23rd, 2016, the U.S. Department of Labor published the final rule updating the overtime regulations for requiring employers to pay overtime to all eligible employees who work more than 40 hours per week.
President Barack Obama signed a Presidential Memorandum in 2014, instructing the Department of Labor to update the outdated regulations that affected white collar (exempt) workers regarding overtime and minimum wages. The purpose was to simplify and modernize the rules and make them easier to apply and understand.
With the new rules, announced on May 18th by President Obama and Labor Secretary Tom Perez, any worker who earns less than $47,476 must be paid overtime on any worked time over 40 hours per week.
Effective December 1, 2016, employers will have to:
- Pay time-and-a-half for overtime
- Raise workers’ salaries above the new threshold
- Limit workers’ hours to 40 hours a week
- A combination of the above
There are some exemptions to this law; for example certain sales, retail, or service employees who are paid on a commission basis; or agricultural workers who are paid a salary of at least $588 and whose employers gross $500,000 or more per year, or $477.75 per week for workers whose employers gross less than $500,000 per year.Also, the minimum salary level will be increased every three years, beginning on January 1st, 2020.
The first and obvious concern for business owners is the increase in labor costs. You need to consider what strategy may be most beneficial, both for your employees and your cash flow. Act cautiously, and don’t just raise everyone’s salary above the minimum or cut their hours to less than 40.
These new regulations are actually a gift. It gives you an opportunity to review your current operations and decide if you want to keep things as they are, or perhaps, streamline and become more efficient. Part of your analysis includes how you are currently using exempt staff. If they are working overtime, how much, when and why? Is it seasonal or continuous? How can you create efficiencies?
Your analysis should include not only if you are able to afford the new salaries, but also if you’d be able to keep up with them down the line. Also, be aware of the different scenarios that you could face if you convert your employees to non-exempt now or in the future. Keep your business needs in mind, and conduct a thorough analysis before making a sudden move that could hurt your entire operation.
Additional benefits of the new overtime rules include happier employees who are more productive. Having well-compensated employees, who don’t feel burnt out or exploited, means that they will be happy, satisfied employees. If they are happy, they will be more productive, which in the end is good for your company. However, as we said before, act carefully, and seek the advice of a savvy business counselor , before making big decisions.
Remember, you need to comply by December 1st, 2016. It is estimated that the new overtime law will benefit 4 million workers across the country. Let's start working together to define a plan that incorporates the new law and makes the most sense for your business growth.You can find more information pertaining to Minnesota rules specifically in this document , published by the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry.
Recently I was engaged in a Facebook exchange among a group of successful business women. Someone asked for opinions on using Grammarly—an app that is marketed as “A FREE, ACCURATE GRAMMAR CHECKER BUILT FOR EVERYONE.”
The comments started rolling in: “love it!” “best thing I have used in a long time.” “Cuts my writing time significantly.” And more like that.
I actually had installed the free app a few weeks before to give it a test run. I found it to be a nuisance because that little app was popping up and sticking its grammar-nose in every single thing I wrote. My emails. My blog posts. My word documents. That spelled danger to me, and I immediately deleted it.
My curiosity piqued, I checked the Terms of Service (which, admittedly, I should have done first). Here is what I found:
By uploading or entering any User Content, you give Grammarly (and those it works with) a nonexclusive, worldwide, royalty-free and fully-paid, transferable and sublicensable, perpetual, and irrevocable license to copy, store and use your User Content (and, if you are an Authorized User, your Enterprise Subscriber’s User Content) in connection with the provision of the Software and the Services and to improve the algorithms underlying the Software and the Services. (emphasis added)
Here's what you need to know:
What does this mean for you?
It means that if you install Grammarly, whether it’s a free service or a paid service, you are specifically giving an unlimited perpetual license to your content to Grammarly and any company they affiliate with and any of their subsidiaries basically for any service they provide now and decide to use in the future.
That means that if you use Grammarly, instead of your own brain or a copy editor, you are no longer the exclusive owner of your content. That means they can republish, provide to third party affiliates, and use your data and materials any way they see fit.
The bottom line is that Grammarly has access to—and the unlimited, forever—right to use your content. Period.
And, once you install Grammarly, it is everywhere . It pops up in every document you create. Every. Single. One. If you don’t believe me, try it yourself.
Of course, lawyers and other professionals with a confidentiality responsibility to their clients are ethically prohibited from using Grammarly. (And, I hope they read the fine print.) But even if you don’t have an ethical responsibility to keep information confidential, do you really want to give up the right to your content?
Think about it! And next time, read the fine print. … or call me, and I’ll read it for you.
*This post has been updated here
The driverless car industry is hot and super-competitive. That’s a given. Here’s what’s not hot if you are Waymo, the self-driving car business that was spun out of Google’s parent company:
Recently, there was a trademark spat between Adidas and Tesla. The story piqued my interest because the big players make mistakes that are instructive for small businesses (only on a grander scale)—and because it illustrates the importance of brand identity and underscores why it’s smart to register your mark.In a nutshell, here’s what happened: Tesla filed with the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) to register its Model 3, three-bar logo as a trademark. If the registration had been for the purpose of using the mark on a car, there would not have been a problem. BUT, Tesla registered to use its three-bar “E” on clothing. Adidas, a company known for rigorous policing of its brand identity, challenged Tesla’s right to register the mark as confusingly similar to the Adidas three-bar logo. Tesla withdrew its application. Adidas protected its three-bar brand identity.