Two Things Your HR Person Should Be Thinking About
Credit unions are not just financial institutions; they are small businesses. This means, of course, that even regulations that have nothing to do with banking can pose challenges to their bottom line. While we can’t prevent the federal government from churning out mandates, the more we can plan ahead, the more we can mitigate compliance expenses.
What triggered this didactic diatribe? Most importantly, the U.S. Department of Labor will be finalizing regulations this year that will increase the minimum salary level for employees to be considered exempt from $455 a week to $970 a week, which equals at least $50,440 annually. This is a big deal for credit unions as it is for all businesses. For example, if you currently have an exempt supervisor who makes $44,000 a year, you will have to decide whether to 1) increase his wage; 2) pay overtime or 3) limit overtime. These types of decisions take time, so my first point in writing this blog this morning is to remind you that if you haven’t started reviewing how your costs may be affected by this regulation, you should.
The second point of this blog is to point out just how out of touch federal regulators can sometimes be with reality. During a hearing of the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship last week, I assumed I had simply misunderstood the testimony of D. McCutchen, who pointed out that the DOL estimates that it will only take businesses about one hour of a midlevel employee’s time to familiarize themselves with these regulations. Sure enough, you can find that estimate in the preamble to the proposed regulations under the Department’s assessment of regulatory familiarization costs.
As up and coming Republican U.S. Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina explained, this analysis was “hogwash.” It also makes me wonder yet again how many of the regulators overseeing workplace conduct in this country have actually ever had a job in the private sector.
Bathroom Access For Transgender Employees Under Federal Law
Given the amount of attention the federal government guidance on the use of facilities by transgendered students received last week, I figured now is a good time to point out that the EEOC recently released a fact sheet on bathroom access rights for transgender employees. The fact sheet, among other things, reminds employers that:
“Gender-based stereotypes, perceptions, or comfort level must not interfere with the ability of any employee to work free from discrimination, including harassment. As the Commission observed in Lusardi: “[S]upervisory or co-worker confusion or anxiety cannot justify discriminatory terms and conditions of employment. Title VII prohibits discrimination based on sex whether motivated by hostility, by a desire to protect people of a certain gender, by gender stereotypes, or by the desire to accommodate other people’s prejudices or discomfort.”