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New OT rules, effective Jan. 1, add to slate of new employment laws

November 1, 2019
By Gary Savine, Savine Employment Law, Ltd., and Judy Mason, CPA, MichaelSilver
A new U.S. Labor Department rule effective Jan. 1, 2020, increases the salary level for white-collar exemptions from overtime pay. The new rule affects workers who serve in white-collar exempt roles (e.g. executive, administrative and professional roles). It does not change other exemptions that typically apply to commission-based salespeople.
Specifically, the new rule increases the salary level for the white-collar exemptions. New salary level for white collar exemptions will be $684 a week ($35,568 annually), up from $455 a week ($23,660). The new salary level for highly compensated employees will be $107,432 a year, up from $100,000. The rule also permits employees to use nondiscretionary bonuses and incentive payments (including commissions) that are paid at least annually to satisfy up to 10% of the required salary level.
This new rule adds to a list of new employment laws taking effect in 2019-2020. At a minimum, employers should check their white-collar exempt workers’ salaries to determine if they will remain above the salary threshold necessary to maintain exempt status; and plan for any necessary adjustments to take effect by Jan. 1. Employers also should plan for other laws, including: 
• amendments to Illinois Equal Pay Act that ban pay history inquiries and prohibits employers from preventing workers from discussing their pay with coworkers;
• amendments to the Illinois Right to Privacy in the Workplace Act that change discrimination and drug testing laws to account for the decriminalization of recreational marijuana use;
• amendments to the Illinois Human Rights Act that require employers to provide annual sexual harassment prevention training; and
• Chicago’s "Fair Workweek Ordinance" that requires employers to publish work schedules in advance or pay premium wages as a penalty.