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Employment law is an ever-evolving field.

For both employers and employees, it is a good idea to be up to date with current information that will affect them. Businesses have already been implementing changes that came about due to the Affordable Care Act, but often there are enough new employment laws that it is hard to keep up with them. Keep in mind that laws surrounding employment often vary by state or province while others are federally regulated or enforced by the national government.

Let’s look at a few notable laws for 2016.

Expanded “Public Works” Definition

In California, a state with some of the most extensive employment laws, they have changed the definition of public works to encompass more employees. This will include workers such as construction, installation or repair on any projects that were a result of their Clean Energy and Pollution Act of 2015. The state also has an extended date, through 2023, for exemptions of paying volunteers on public work projects. This could impact other aspects of Public Works employees and will be a testing ground for the rest of the United States.

Misuse of the E-Verify System

When the E-Verify system went into effect years ago, many companies were confused by the process. Like many newly implemented systems, it had glitches that made it difficult to use consistently. Now that most of those kinks have been worked out, it is imperative that companies utilize it properly. E-Verify cannot be used on existing employees or on candidates who do not receive a job offer. E-Verify was designed to determine if someone was legally eligible to work in the United States and it should never be used to make discriminatory hiring decisions.

Overtime Eligibility

The Obama administration has suggested new rules to overtime eligibility that will raise the threshold for salaried employees who qualify for overtime pay. At the current rate, employees making less than around $23,000 annually can receive overtime pay. The proposed changes would raise this to just over $50,000. They are also proposing that the threshold adjust automatically in the future to reflect inflation rates. If this law goes into effect, it would impact the pay rates of 40% of salaried workers in the United States. Keep in mind that most salary workers are considered exempt employees, making them ineligible for overtime in general. This would change that definition.

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