GPCC President & CEO Todd Sanders.

In mid-May of this year, the U.S. Department of Labor announced updates to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) laws regarding minimum wage and overtime pay. The effective date of these changes is Dec. 1 of this year. That means all businesses in Arizona and across the country have slightly more than two months remaining to ensure they are in compliance.

Now, there are many valid criticisms of these labor law changes. There are separate federal lawsuits seeking to halt implementation of these rules, one filed by a coalition of 21 states including Arizona and the other by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and 50 business groups.

Despite these efforts, the risks of non-compliance are simply too great for employers to ignore these mandates or gamble that the courts will provide relief. The courts may halt a small part of these rules, but a full-scale injunction is highly unlikely.

Because the new laws substantially increase the income threshold at which an employee is considered exempt (from overtime pay), employers are best advised to evaluate their workforces now from top to bottom to decide several things, including which positions will be converted from exempt to non-exempt, which are exempt entirely from the new laws and which types of pay count toward the new, higher income threshold.

It is vital to begin engaging in this process now. To neglect it opens employers up to a lawsuit from an entire class of employees who believe they were improperly classified and therefore not paid correctly. It also exposes non-compliant employers to daily fines levied by the federal government.

As I began going through the process of implementing these changes to our Chamber workforce, I figured many of our Chamber business owners would be seeking answers to questions similar to the ones I had.

To help prepare our members for these imminent changes, we planned Phoenix in the Know: New Salary & Overtime Laws, a one-hour educational event on Oct. 18 to equip all Chamber members with information and guidance on compliance with these new labor laws.

During the event, Ashley Kasarjian, an employment attorney with Snell & Wilmer who provides day-to-day advice to business executives and human resources departments, defends companies in litigation and helps businesses manage risk, will provide accurate, timely information and advice on compliance with the new FLSA laws. She will also discuss the value of doing an entire HR audit and complying with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).

As the voice and advocate for the Valley business community, we seek ways to keep our members informed, prepared and successful, even when the federal government mandates policies with which we disagree.

Posted by Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce

The Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce supports business growth and drives economic development in the region by helping members stay connected and prosperous, growing the economy through Phoenix Forward, our collaborative economic development partnership, and advocating for pro-business policies.