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What Do the Big Changes in Overtime Laws Mean For Employers?

The U.S. Department of Labor just released a new Rule regarding the overtime exemption for full-time salaried workers.  Under the current rule, any full-time salaried worker in an executive, administrative or professional position is exempt from overtime pay as long as the employee is paid at least $455 per week ($23,660 annually).  However, starting December 1, 2016, the salary threshold will jump to $913 per week ($47,476 annually).  This jump will have a drastic impact on employers who regularly avail themselves of the so-called “white collar” overtime exemption.

Likewise, the payment threshold for the highly compensated employees exemption (HCE) has risen from $100,000 to $134,004 annually.

Perhaps more importantly, the Department of Labor is instituting a mechanism to adjust the minimum thresholds on an ongoing basis, instead of leaving them at the same level indefinitely.  This means the minimums are likely to rise in the coming years.

Employees not making the minimum salary must be paid overtime for any hours worked over 40 per week.  Any employer who cannot afford the new minimum salary must now keep careful track of the employee’s hours.  The new rule not only can effect the employer’s payroll, but also work schedules, record keeping requirements, and perhaps even staffing decisions.  Failure to pay overtime can lead to expensive FLSA penalties, and even more expensive penalties under District of Columbia law.

Employers should be prepared for these changes and understand the significant impact they will have on their businesses.  Employers of all sizes and in all industries should review their job descriptions to determine whether they accurately reflect employees’ job duties and the skills necessary to perform each job, paying close attention to the duties necessary to fall within the various overtime exemptions.

Employers should also conduct a self-audit to determine what changes they may need to make to employee classifications.  At a minimum, employers should identify those employees in exempt positions who currently fall near or below the proposed salary threshold of $970 per week, as well as those who currently fall under the “highly compensated” exemption.

Employers should determine a plan of action for complying with the new regulations, which may include increasing minimum salaries for exempt employees or reclassifying employees as nonexempt, hourly workers.  Employers should also have a plan in place to communicate these changes to employees, who may be resistant to the changes imposed by these new rules, and to train their managers regarding the implications of the new regulations.

The effects of the new rule may seem painful, but it does not have to be with proper planning.  An employer still has options to minimize the impact of the new rule, both on payroll and employee morale.  A thorough understanding of your rights and responsibilities under the white collar overtime exemption is essential before making any drastic employment decisions.

If you have questions about how the new rules will affect your business, contact us for a more detailed analysis.

 Keith Lively



New Deadlines for Temporary Licenses and One Day Substantial Change Applications

The Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration (ABRA) is providing notice that new filing deadlines are going into effect for temporary license and one-day substantial change applications beginning Tuesday, May 31, 2016.

Under the new deadlines, temporary licenses and one day substantial change applications for outdoor events will need to be filed with ABRA at least 20 days prior to the event taking place. Outdoor events are defined as those occurring on:

  • Outdoor public space, excluding sidewalk cafés adjacent to a building;
  • Outdoor private space that is not located on the private property of the building being operated or utilized by the applicant for its event; or
  • Another property owner’s private space, such as an outdoor parking lot.

Temporary license and one-day substantial change applications for indoor events can continue to be filed at least seven days in advance of the event. An indoor event is categorized as occurring inside of or on site of a building, including a building’s:

  • Outdoor courtyard,
  • Backyard,
  • Summer garden or rooftop deck, or
  • Sidewalk café that is located adjacent to the applicant’s building provided that a public space permit or written approval has been issued by the District Department of Transportation.

Applicants are strongly encouraged to submit applications for large indoor and outdoor events well in advance of these deadlines.


Liquor Store Licenses on Hold

Business owners looking to open liquor stores in the District may need to put their plans on hold.

Applications for new liquor store licenses cannot currently be accepted by the Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration (ABRA) because the number of pending and issued liquor store licenses reached 250, which by law is the cap. ABRA will begin accepting applications again when the number falls back below 250.

The cap does not affect a liquor store owner’s ability to transfer its license to a new location or to a new owner. Any transfer would be subject to review and approval of the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board.

In addition, the cap does not affect a business owner’s ability to apply for other alcohol license types since the 250-cap only impacts stores permitted to sell spirits, beer and wine (class A licenses).

Proposals Requesting Moratorium on Alcohol Licenses Along Queens Chapel and Bladensburg Rds, NE Corridor

Several community groups, including Advisory Neighborhood Commission 5C, Langdon Park Community Association, The Greater Woodridge-Gateway Leaders’ Group, and residents of Woodridge, Langdon Park and Gateway Communities submitted proposals requesting a moratorium on certain alcohol licenses along the Queens Chapel and Bladensburg Roads, NE corridor. The Alcoholic Beverage Control Board will hold a hearing at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, June 1 to receive public comment on the proposals.

While there are slight variations in the proposals, they generally request prohibiting the issuance of certain alcohol licenses for taverns, nightclubs, multipurpose facilities, and restaurants with entertainment endorsements within an 1,800-foot radius of the corridor.

In making its decision on the moratorium, the Board will review the public comment it receives on the issue to examine whether alcohol licensing is having an adverse impact on the neighborhood, specifically on issues of noise, litter, parking, property values, crime and pedestrian and vehicular safety.

If approved by the Board, the moratorium would be the fifth neighborhood moratorium in the District joining Adams Morgan. East Dupont Circle, Glover Park and West Dupont Circle.

Members of the public that want to comment on the petitions—either at the Board’s hearing or by submitting written comment through June 10

License Renewals Due March 31, 2016

The Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration (ABRA) is kicking off its busiest license renewal season this week by mailing applications to more than 1,100 businesses.

All alcohol-licensed restaurants, hotels, theaters, museums, trains, boats, clubs and caterers in the District are due to renew licenses no later than Thursday, March 31.

In an effort to make the renewal process more convenient for licensees, ABRA will be providing additional office hours on Saturdays during the month of March for renewals to be completed. As a result, licenses can be renewed any time before March 31 during the following hours:

  • 8:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m., Monday-Friday; and
  • 9 a.m.-1 p.m. on Saturday, March 4, 11, 18 and 25.

Renewals may only be done in person at ABRA’s office, which is located at:

  • 2000 14th St., NW, 4th Floor, Suite 400 South, Washington DC 20009.

Applications not returned by the required deadline will be subject to a late fee beginning Friday, April 1 of $50 per day—not to exceed the cost of the license—and cancellation.

Alcoholic beverage licenses are required to be renewed every three years with all licenses of the same type expiring on the same date. The next sets of licenses requiring renewal will be all taverns and nightclubs, which will be due by Friday, Sept. 30. ABRA will mail renewal notices to taverns and nightclubs in mid-August.

Annual License Payments Due by Sept. 30th

The Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration (ABRA) has announced that the license holders of beer and wine stores, taverns, and nightclubs that pay for their licenses on an annual basis are due to make payments no later than September 30th.

ABRA will mail payments in mid-August to the licensees to which this applies.

A late payment fee of $50 per day will be imposed, which may not surpass the cost of the license.

ABRA to Host Books and Records Training on Sept. 24th

From ABRA:

The Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration (ABRA) will hold two books and records training sessions for hotel and restaurant licensees on Thursday, Sept. 24. Training will cover:

  • Food sales requirements,
  • Food sales reporting,
  • Quarterly statement filings, and
  • Books and records tracking.

Licensees can attend either two-hour training session on Thursday, Sept. 24:

  • 9-11 a.m. (Spanish interpreter available), or
  • 2-4 p.m. (Korean interpreter available).

RSVP for training by contacting ABRA Compliance Analyst Monica Clark by Friday, Sept. 18:

  • Email
  • Call (202) 442-4438

Training is free of charge and will be held at ABRA’s office:

  • 2000 14th St., NW, Suite 400 South, 4th Floor, Washington, DC 20009


ABRA Office Closed Labor Day

In observation of the Labor Day holiday on Monday, Sept. 7th, the Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration’s office will be closed. Normal hours of operation will be resumed on Tuesday, Sept. 8th.

District of Columbia Extended Holiday Hours this Labor Day Weekend

Taverns, restaurants, night clubs, and other on-premises establishments, registered for extended holiday hours with the District of Columbia’s Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration, are allowed to sell alcohol beverages until 4:00 a.m. on the mornings of Saturday, Sept. 5th; Sunday Sept. 6th; and Monday, September 7th.

The extended holiday hours program allows registered on-premises establishments to remain open 24 hours a day and to serve alcohol until 4 a.m. on certain holidays and holiday weekends. Establishments that have settlement agreements restricting closing hours; however, are ineligible to participate.

For those on-premises establishments that are not yet registered for extended holiday hours for Labor Day weekend, the deadline to do so is August 6th.

ABC Board Summer Recess

From ABRA:

The Alcoholic Beverage Control Board (Board) will be on recess during the following dates:

  • Wednesday, Aug. 19
  • Wednesday, Aug. 26
  • Wednesday, Sept. 2

The Board will reconvene on Wednesday, Sept. 9. The Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration will remain open and operate during normal business hours while the Board is on recess.