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Entries in overtime rules (7)

Wednesday
Nov232016

Breaking: Injunction Stops December 1 Overtime Rules

Yesterday, a federal judge in Texas granted a preliminary injunction halting implementation of the new FSLA overtime rules scheduled to take effect December 1. The decision is a result of an emergency motion for a preliminary injunction filed in October. This reprieve for employers comes as a very pleasant surprise, as most experts held out little hope that the court would grant the injunction.

The preliminary injunction is not a final decision. It merely preserves the current overtime regulations, while “the court determines the department’s authority to make the final rule as well as the final rule’s validity,” wrote Judge Amos Mazzant in the November 22 ruling.

Judge Mazzant granted the preliminary injunction in part because the Department of Labor rules put in place a significant increase to the salary level creating 'essentially a de facto salary-only test.' “If Congress intended the salary requirement to supplant the duties test, then Congress—and not the department—should make that change,” wrote Mazzant.

The battle over the overtime rules is not over. The Department of Labor is expected to appeal the decision. So stay tuned. But for now, enjoy your Thanksgiving dinner without having to wonder how to comply with the December 1 deadline.

Friday
Nov182016

This Week in the Fitness Industry: IMAXShift Draws Users with Scenes from Nature

IMAXShift Draws New Users with Scenes from Nature
“I’ve passed all these sweaty little rooms where people are spinning at the speed of light, and I’ve always had really no interest in being part of that,” Jaclyn Cohen, a sales director for a wedding dress and footwear designer, told The New York Times. But then she heard about the new IMAXShift studio that opened in Brooklyn in May, offering cycling classes that take place in front of a 40-foot-wide by 24-foot-high Imax screen. “Riders feel as though they are pedaling up a mountain in the Swiss Alps, for instance, or, when the music changes, that they are headed toward a distant planet somewhere far off in the galaxy,” the article says. “The videos are timed to the workout, in order to make spinning movements feel more natural. One segment places you on a roller coaster track, with an instructor directing you to speed up as you go ‘downhill,’ just as you would in real life—if, of course, you were inclined to ride a bicycle on a roller coaster track.”

Free IHRSA Member Webinar About New Federal Overtime Laws
IHRSA is extremely concerned about the overtime rule’s potential costs to health clubs and about the short time frame to prepare for compliance, and we are working to stop or delay these changes. But in the meantime, because these changes could have a drastic impact on a club's payroll, IHRSA is providing all IHRSA members with a complimentary webinar on Monday, November 21 at 2 p.m. EST. Employment attorney Jordan Schwartz, a partner in Conn Maciel Carey’s office in Washington, D.C., who is experienced in employment-related issues across a number of industries to speak on this issue, will explain how the laws will impact health clubs. He has defended employers against claims of discrimination and harassment, misappropriation of trade secrets, and wage and hour violations. The webinar—The DOL’s Final Overtime Rule—will address the Department of Labor’s new FLSA Overtime Exemption Rule, steps to take to comply with this rule, and an explanation of the FLSA's "Retail Sales Exemption." 

Wellbridge Athletic Club to Build 40K Square-foot Club
Wellbridge Athletic Club & Spa’s existing 35,000 sq. ft. luxury club will be replaced by a striking 40,000 sq. ft. athletic club, just steps away from its current entrance in Clayton, MO. “Being able to stay in the center of the community while so much growth is taking place is an incredible opportunity,” Wellbridge COO JoAnna Masloski said in a release. “We intend to create an atmosphere that matches the city’s energy and also feels like a home away from home.” The new club will provide a more efficient design and flow that offers the customer better amenities and an even better experience. Proposed plans include a hot yoga studio and anti-gravity wall; an expansive functional training space; a 25-meter pool; a café; covered parking; an expanded childcare area; and a concept studio featuring the latest in fitness trends.

ChinaFit/IHRSA China Management Forum Opens with a Flourish

The ChinaFit/IHRSA China Management Forum opened with a flourish on November 16 in Changsha, China, with 350 attendees and 20 sponsors supporting this management education event. Read more about ChinaFit 2016.

Tuesday
Nov082016

What You Need to Know NOW About the New Federal Overtime Rules

On December 1st, new federal overtime rules are scheduled to go into effect, which will extend overtime eligibility to an additional 4.2 million workers. Under the new rule, an employee must have a guaranteed salary of at least $47,476 to qualify as exempt, which is more than double the current minimum salary of $23,660.

IHRSA is extremely concerned about the overtime rule’s potential costs to health clubs and about the short time frame to prepare for compliance.

The first avenue for relief is through Congressional action.

On September 28th, the House passed H.R. 6094 “Regulatory Relief for Small Business, Schools, and Nonprofits Act,” which would delay the implementation of the overtime rule until June 1, 2017. A related bill, S. 3462, was introduced in the Senate on September 29th. However, the Senate adjourned for the election before taking action on the bill. IHRSA lobbyist Jay Sweeney attended a meeting with HELP Committee Chairman Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN), the sponsor of S. 3462. Chairman Alexander said that the legislation is fully supported by Republican senators but that no Democrats have signed on. Since passing anything in the Senate these days takes at least 60 votes, some level of Democratic support is critical to passage. Lobbying efforts are ongoing to gain additional support for the delay in the Senate. Chairman Alexander plans to use the lame duck session of Congress – that he expects will begin November 14th – to seek passage of the delay.

IHRSA lobbied directly to support S. 3462 and joined the Partnership to Protect Workplace Opportunity (PPWO), a diverse group of businesses and associations that is advocating to lessen the impact of the new overtime regulations on businesses.

In addition to legislative efforts, lawsuits were filed seeking to stop implementation of the overtime rules. So far, there is no word on any ruling in the case.

Continue reading "What You Need to Know NOW About the New Federal Overtime Rules."

Click to read more ...

Friday
Jul292016

This Week in the Fitness Industry: Ice Bucket Challenge Results in ALS Breakthrough

Ice Bucket Challenge Proceeds Results in ALS Breakthrough
Unless you were living under a Wi-Fi-less rock in 2014, you’re well familiar with the Ice Bucket Challenge—the viral ALS fundraiser that had people—including IHRSA staff—record themselves pouring buckets of ice water over their heads and challenging their friends and family to do the same. Public figures such as Ellen DeGeneres, Taylor Swift, President George W. Bush participated in the challenge, garnering more than 400 million views on social media. The challenge raised $220 million worldwide, which funded the largest ever study of inherited ALS. And now, the viral sensation is paying off—the ALS Association reported that the study identified a new gene, NEK1, that ranks among the most common genes that contribute to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, according to Reuters. "Global collaboration among scientists, which was really made possible by ALS Ice Bucket Challenge donations, led to this important discovery," said John Landers of the University of Massachusetts Medical School.

Physical Inactivity Costs Global Economy $67.6 Billion a Year
Sedentary lifestyles—linked to increased risks of heart disease, diabetes, and cancer—costs the global economy $67.5 billion a year in healthcare and productivity losses, according to a study of one million people, Reuters reports. However, researchers found that just an hour a day of exercise—such as brisk walking—could eliminate most of that cost. Inactivity causes more than 5 million deaths a year—nearly as many as smoking, which kills 6 million a year, according to the World Health Organization. The study also found that people who sat for eight hours a day but were otherwise physically active had a lower risk of premature death than those who spent fewer hours sitting but were also less active. These findings suggest that exercise is particularly important, no matter how many hours a day are spent sitting.

Founder of Fresh Fitness and Fitness DK Launches New Innovative Chain of Clubs
REPEAT is Denmark’s newest fitness concept. The first two sites will open in Odense, the country’s third-largest city) and Copenhagen come September. The name “REPEAT” is a play-on-words—REPEAT is the third health club chain to be established by entrepreneur Rasmus Ingerslev. However, REPEAT, or rather repetition, is what it takes to be successful with your exercise and, according to the fitness entrepreneur Ingerslev, REPEAT will be both innovative and different from what you would normally expect of a health club. Read the full blog post about REPEAT.

Congress Introduces Legislation to Slow Federal Overtime Rules
Recently, legislation was introduced to slow the new federal overtime rules, which, as released this May, will mandate overtime pay for salaried workers making less than a new threshold of $47,476 per year, or $913/week. Previously, the white collar exemption excluded salaried employees making over $23,660 from overtime protections, e.g. time and one-half for all hours worked in excess of forty hours per week. The new rules stand to affect 4.2 million workers. Read our full coverage of the federal overtime rules legislation.

Wednesday
Jul272016

Congress Introduces Legislation to Slow Federal Overtime Rules

Recently, legislation was introduced to slow the new federal overtime rules, which, as released this May, will mandate overtime pay for salaried workers making less than a new threshold of $47,476 per year, or $913/week.

Previously, the white collar exemption excluded salaried employees making over $23,660 from overtime protections, e.g. time and one-half for all hours worked in excess of forty hours per week. The new rules stand to affect 4.2 million workers. 

Overtime Reform and Enhancement Act Introduced

The Overtime Reform and Enhancement Act, introduced by Congressman Kurt Schrader (D-OR) and others, would gradually raise the salary threshold over four years. Instead of the new weekly pay threshold of $913 going into effect on December 1, 2016, the bill proposes the following timeline:

  • $692 per week beginning December 1, 2016
  • $765 per week beginning December 1, 2017
  • $839 per week beginning December 1, 2018
  • $913 per week beginning December 1, 2019

The legislation would also eliminate the rule indexing the salary threshold every three years to national data on salaries. To increase the salary threshold, the Department of Labor would have to engage in the traditional rulemaking process.

Also recently, the House Appropriations Committee considered a funding bill that included language to prevent the Department of Labor from implementing the new overtime rules.

Membership in Partnership to Protect Workplace Opportunity 

IHRSA, a coalition member of the advocacy group Partnership to Protect Workplace Opportunity, is concerned about the potential costs to health clubs and about the short timeframe for businesses to prepare for compliance with the new exemption rules. The Partnership is dedicated to advocating for the interests of its members in the regulatory debate on changes to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) overtime regulations.

Speaking for all its partners, the Partnership says, "We are deeply disappointed that the Labor Department largely ignored the concerns of tens of thousands of individuals and organizations across this country that expressed concern with the proposal issuing a final rule that will do serious damage to people’s careers and workplace flexibility, new job opportunities and essential community services. We will continue to advocate for a regulation that is considerate of all stakeholder and economic realities facing employers and employees across the country.”

IHRSA will continue to monitor developments on this issue. On July 8, 2016, IHRSA lobbyist Jay Sweeney attended a meeting of the Partnership to learn of the recent developments and plan future action. If you have questions or comments, please email IHRSA’s public policy department at gr@ihrsa.org

Friday
May272016

This Week in the Fitness Industry: MyFitnessPal Users Choosing Barre, SoulCycle

More MyFitnessPal Users Attending Barre, SoulCycle, HIT Classes
The number of MyFitnessPal users who attend exercise classes are favoring “upgraded fitness experiences” such as indoor cycling and Barre, according to data from the fitness tracking app. Findings showed that the use of Barre classes grew 3% from 2014 to 2015, with SoulCycle growing 38% and high-intensity impact training climbing 14% during the same time period. What’s more, use of Orange Theory Fitness grew by a whopping 170%. Glennis Coursey, coaching lead at Under Armour’s MyFitnessPal, attributed Orange Theory's rapid growth to the fact that its classes are targeted toward both men and women, while more women attend Barre and SoulCycle classes than men, Entrepreneur reports.

Study: Wearable Fitness Trackers Don’t Motivate Exercise
A study by researchers at Oklahoma State University suggests that fitness trackers don’t motivate users to exercise more, reports Science Daily. For the study, researchers gave a group of physical education students monitors, telling them they would measure the amount of sunlight the students received each day. Later, researchers gave the group another monitor, informing them they would count the number of steps they took each day. The catch—both sets of monitors actually measured how active the fitness buffs were. The results: the students were not more active when they knew their steps were being counted. "You need to take 10,000 steps a day to equal 30 minutes of light-to-moderate physical activity a day, and you should really do an hour a day to be healthy," one researcher said. "Students in the study took 11,000 or 12,000 steps a day, which isn't much above the minimum, and their activity didn't change with the monitoring. We expected them to model good fitness, but now we wonder what we can do to get people to be more physically active!"

U.S. Department of Labor Releases New Federal Overtime Rules
On Monday, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) published new federal rules on overtime. The new rules, a response to President Obama’s directive to update regulations for the Fair Labor Standards Act, which were last updated in 2004, go into effect on December 1, 2016. The rules amend what is known as the White Collar Exemption for certain workers that have historically been excluded from overtime protections. These workers are described in the regulations as “Executive, Administrative, Professional, Outside Sales and Computer Employees.” Despite receiving written comments from tens of thousands of individuals and organizations stressing the serious harm that the changes would cause, the DOL made few changes to rules as originally proposed in 2015. Read our full coverage on the new federal overtime rules.

151.5 Million Members Get Active at More Than 186,000 Health Clubs
In 2015, global health club industry revenue totaled $81 billion, as 151.5 million members visited nearly 187,000 clubs, according to the just-released The 2016 IHRSA Global Report: The State of the Health Club Industry. The top 10 markets account for roughly two out of three health clubs and three out of four members worldwide. While the U.S. leads all markets in club count and memberships at 55 million and 36,180, respectively, Brazil is second in club count at 31,809, Germany second in number of members at 9.5 million. All three markets are also among the top 10 worldwide in revenue with the U.S. ranking first ($25.8 billion), Germany second ($5.4 billion), and Brazil seventh ($2.4 billion). “This year’s report shows collective growth in markets worldwide, with mature markets leading the way,” said Jay Ablondi, IHRSA's executive vice president of global products.

EEOC Clarifies Rules on Employee Wellness Program Incentives
Employers can offer workers financial incentives of up to 30% of the cost of their cheapest health insurance plan to participate in wellness programs without violating federal laws protecting the confidentiality of medical information, according to final rules released by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The rules are meant to clarify the way two federal laws protecting employees' medical privacy apply to the popular programs, which are designed to control medical spending by reducing obesity, smoking, and other risk factors, Reuters reports. The rules are a result of a compromise between U.S. businesses and the EEOC, which previously held that providing incentives for voluntary wellness programs rendered them involuntary, and therefore illegal. 

Thursday
May262016

New Federal Overtime Rules Released This Week

On Monday, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) published new federal rules on overtime. The new rules, a response to President Obama’s directive to update regulations for the Fair Labor Standards Act, which were last updated in 2004, go into effect on December 1, 2016. 

The rules amend what is known as the White Collar Exemption for certain workers that have historically been excluded from overtime protections. These workers are described in the regulations as “Executive, Administrative, Professional, Outside Sales and Computer Employees.”

Implications of the New Federal Overtime Rules

Despite receiving written comments from tens of thousands of individuals and organizations stressing the serious harm that the changes would cause, the DOL made few changes to rules as originally proposed in 2015. The DOL did lower the salary threshold level to $47,476.00, slightly lower than what was originally proposed; however, this is still a 100% increase over the current salary threshold of $23,660.00. The changes are estimated to affect 4.2 million workers across all industries.

Beginning in December, for employees with a salary of less than $47,476 per year, or $913 per week, employers must compensate all time in excess of 40 hours/week at one-and-a-half times the regular pay rate. Employers may count incentive pay (e.g. commissions, company bonuses) towards the salary threshold, provided that the extra compensation is paid at least on a quarterly basis. However, employers are not permitted to count the extra pay past 10 percent of the salary floor. Hourly workers that do not receive an annualized salary are not affected; such exempt workers are already entitled to time and one half.

Advice for Health Club Owners

Kara M. Maciel an employment law attorney for Conn Maciel Carey, and a frequent speaker at the IHRSA convention, advised employers, “For those assistant managers and supervisors earning pay near the new threshold salary level, particularly those who generally work more than 40 hours per week, it may be a more financially feasible decision to raise their salary rather than try to address the issue of potential overtime pay. 

"Alternatively, for those employees currently earning a wage closer to the prior threshold level of $23,660.00, reclassifying them as non-exempt and closely monitoring hours worked to keep them at or below 40 hours per week would likely be the more feasible option. But every workplace is different and the determination as to how to handle these new requirements must be made on a case by case basis.“

Most lawyers, accountants and other business advisors are noting that it is important that employers take steps now to achieve compliance for December. These steps may include:

  1. Reviewing and if needed, updating, employee classification—exempt or non-exempt;
  2. Setting up systems to log overtime for non-exempt workers

The salary floor will be updated every three years, beginning January 1, 2020, with an agency announcement occurring 150 days before the new threshold goes into effect. The salary floor is set at the 40th percentile of data representing the earnings of full-time salaried workers in the lowest-wage census region (currently Southern states).

For more, read the updated Department of Labor regulation, Defining and Delimiting the Exemptions for Executive, Administrative, Professional, Outside Sales and Computer Employees.

If you have questions or comments, please send them to IHRSA’s public policy team at gr@ihrsa.org