New Wage And Hour Laws Keep HR’s Compliance ‘To Do’ List Growing

Agency’s Action Changed Exemption Levels

Recently, the US Department of Labor (DOL) published its final overtime rule, which changed exemption levels for white collar employees. You can find it in full on the DOL’s Website. The final rule became effective January 1, 2020, which gave employers very little time to review and adjust the pay of their exempt workforce to comply with the law. For those who may still be catching up, here’s what you need to know:

4 Key Takeaways From The New Overtime Rules

  • The new rule increases the salary level for the white-collar exemptions (executive, administrative, and professional). New salary level for white collar exemptions will be $684 per week ($35,568). Previously, the required salary was $455 per week ($23,660).
  • The new salary level for highly compensated employees is $107,432. Previously, the required salary level was $100,000.
  • The rule permits employees to use non-discretionary bonuses and incentive payments (including commissions) that are paid at least annually to satisfy up to 10 percent of the standard salary level.
  • The new rule made no changes to the duties tests for any exemptions and did not provide for automatic annual increases.

At a minimum, a salary check of white-collar exempt workers should have been performed to determine if they remained above the salary threshold necessary to maintain exempt status; and planning for any necessary adjustments to take effect by January 1 should be done.

This new rule added another task to a long list of compliance actions employers needed to take to ready their organizations for 2020.

What Else Should Illinois Employers Be Thinking About in 2020?

1. Amendments to the Illinois Equal Pay Act (effective September 2019), which ban pay history inquiries and prohibits employers from requiring workers to sign contracts that prevent them discussing their pay with coworkers and others, with some exceptions. Details can be found here.

2. Amendments to the Illinois Right to Privacy in the Workplace Act (effective January 1, 2020), which change discrimination and drug testing laws to account for the decriminalization of recreational marijuana use. Details can be found here and here.

4. Amendments to the Illinois Human Rights Act (effective January 1, 2020) that expand anti-discrimination protections to virtually every employer with as few as one worker, requires employers to provide annual sexual harassment prevention training, and requires employers to disclose annually to the State adverse rulings and certain settlements from the prior year. Details can be found here.

5. Chicago’s “Fair Workweek Ordinance” (effective July 1, 2020), a predictive scheduling ordinance which requires employers to give employees their schedules in advance and sets employee pay at a higher rate when changes are made to work schedules. More details are available here.

6. The Workplace Transparency Act (effective January 1, 2020), which places restrictions on employee confidentiality agreements, and prohibits employers from requiring employees to waive, arbitrate or diminish an existing or future claim related to unlawful employment. Details can be found here.


Does Your Company Have Any ‘To Dos’ That Need Doing?

If any of the above make your to do list look insurmountable or you have questions about them, give us a call at (312) 800-1439.


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Gary Savine is an Illinois employment lawyer and founder of Savine Employment Law, Ltd. in Chicago. Gary regularly advises human resources professionals on recently enacted employment laws.

Photo credit: © Can Stock Photo/Mishchenko