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Payroll Today

APA Last Day: The Wage-Hour Division Speaks (Sort Of)

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Alice Gilman

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in Payroll Today

Silence was basically all we heard about those new white collar salary regulations from every Wage-Hour representative who attended the American Payroll Association’s 34th Annual Congress. Laura Fortman, Deputy Administrator at the Wage-Hour Division, a keynote speaker Friday morning, essentially stuck to that script. But she also may have revealed a little more than she intended.

Waiting is the hardest part

Fortman first noted that there were more than 270,000 comments on the proposed regs, which were released last summer. And, while not saying anything about the exact date the final regs will drop into the Federal Register (the repository for all proposed and final federal regulations), she did respond to a question from the audience with what even she called a non-answer answer—there will be enough time for employers to get their systems in place.

Fortman also pointed tantalizingly to additional pieces of information, without commenting on their significance:

  • The Department of Labor’s Regulatory Agenda, which puts the release date in July 2016
  • The Administrative Procedure Act, which sets the rules for all administrative rulemaking. According to Fortman, the minimum amount of time between the release of final regulations and those regs’ effective date is 60 days.

APA attendees react

While the HR world is in a tizzy about these new regs, Payroll people generally are not. I was reminded several times that “we’re tax/compliance people, not HR, and this is something that HR is dealing with.” That surprised me.

The general consensus was that these regs will not affect them personally or professionally. I spoke casually to attendees about their companies’ plans for these new regs. These responses were typical.

Jennifer Kerby, Payroll Analyst with BMD Inc., in California, said that her company has run reports and done some recalculations, but since they’re in California, they pay their exempts more anyway. Only three people at Kerby’s company will be negatively impacted by the change in the regs.

Payroll was tasked with pulling pay bands, so HR could perform its analysis, according to Kerby and Kathy King, Payroll/Regulatory Compliance, Compass Group, USA, Inc. King added that her company formed a steering committee so someone owns the issue. You just can’t classify everyone as exempt, she correctly noted. She said that the company knows who will get bumped up and who will get demoted; they’re just waiting for the regs to be released.

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