PA Department of Labor and Industry Expected to Announce Next Steps in Proposed Overtime Eligibility Changes This Fall

From PA Chamber of Business & Industry

Following feedback from the state’s Independent Regulatory Review Commission and stakeholders, the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry is expected to indicate sometime this fall how they intend to proceed with potential proposed changes to the state’s overtime eligibility rules.

In 2018, the PA Department of Labor and Industry proposed new rules related to employee eligibility for overtime pay, including doubling the minimum salary threshold for exemption and requiring regular increases. The PA Chamber, along with hundreds of other employers and advocates, submitted comments to IRRC expressing concerns, and ultimately IRRC issued its own comments with a significant number of questions and suggestions to which the Department must respond in a subsequent filing. Among IRRC’s directives to the Department was more robust stakeholder outreach and in May and June of this year, the Department conducted a series of employer roundtable meetings throughout Pennsylvania. 

When President Obama proposed similar changes to the federal rule in 2015, the response from employers was swift and deeply negative, particularly among small businesses, nonprofit organizations, higher education institutions and the health service industry, among others. Employers not only described significant increases to the cost of providing services or doing businesses, but also the reality that this dramatic change would damage workplace culture and morale, as employees would have to be shifted from earning a salary to being paid by the hour. This transition typically requires employees to start clocking in and out, along with more burdensome record-keeping, less flexibility, a rigid work schedule and fewer training opportunities and benefits.

In February 2019, the U.S. Department of Labor released a new proposal to update overtime eligibility standards, which includes raising the salary threshold for exempt status but to a level considered less disruptive.

Member News – September 18, 2019

  • The Ken Pollock Auto Group will hold a car seat safety check in conjunction with the PA State Police tomorrow, Sept. 19, from 2-5 p.m., at its Tire and Auto Center, located at 88 Wyoming Valley Mall Blvd, Wilkes-Barre. 


  • The Danville Area Community Foundation, an affiliate of the Central Susquehanna Community Foundation, will hold its grant awards breakfast on Wednesday, Oct. 9, from 8:30-10 a.m., at the Meadows Community Center at the Maria Joseph Continuing Care Community. This event annually celebrates the investments made to community organizations through the work of the DACF. Local nonprofit organizations will be presented with 2019 grant awards during the breakfast. Reservations are required but there is no cost to attend (see printed invitation). To reserve your seat, please contact Katie Simpson by email or at 570-752-3930 by Oct. 2.


  • The Ronald McDonald House of Danville recently had the opportunity to partner with Beiter’s Home Center during the Little League World Series to raise funds for thousands of families. Beiter’s presented RMHD with a check for $30,057.05 which represents 100% of the proceeds raised from parking cars during the Little League World Series. RMHD extends a big thank you to all of the fantastic volunteers who helped make this fundraiser a huge success.



  • Susquehanna Steam Electric Station (SSES) recently hosted its annual Team Susquehanna/Berwick Area United Way golf tournament raising over $84,000 to benefit the Berwick Area United Way, and the local programs and agencies it supports.  In the tournament’s 10-year history, it has raised over $730,000 for the Berwick Area United Way.  In 2018, the event supplied 77% of all the funding awarded to agencies that serve the local community. 

    (L-R): Susquehanna Steam Electric Station Employee and Golf Tournament Chair, Kip McCabe; Talen Energy senior vice president and Chief Nuclear Officer, Brad Berryman; United Way President and Chief Executive Officer, Bill Jones; and United Way Community Impact Coordinator, Ayrin Shortlidge.

    “Susquehanna Station is proud to support the Berwick Area United Way through our annual golf tournament,” said senior vice president Chief Nuclear Officer, Brad Berryman.  “We are grateful to all the volunteers and sponsors who helped to make our 10th tournament a success.” In addition to their annual golf tournament, SSES supports the Berwick Area United Way through an annual employee giving campaign, backpack donations for their Stuff the Bus initiative, and volunteer resources for their annual Day of Caring.  They are also hosting their first annual clay shoot tournament fundraiser this fall.  


  • There will be a fun, Halloween-themed, family-friendly fundraising event on Saturday, Oct. 26, at Hawkins Chevrolet, located at 1856 Montour Blvd. (Rt. 11), Danville, to benefit the Montour Area Recreation Commission, which manages the Montour Preserve. This event is being hosted by the Danville Business Alliance and several other Danville-based organizations. It will feature an obstacle course, pumpkin toss, trunk or treat and much more. All proceeds raised from the event will benefit MARC, which currently does not have enough funding to sustain operations beyond next fall. For additional information, visit the Facebook event page, and view the below video. 

Announcing the Launch of Path to Careers

Portions of this article are from PA CareerLink

A new website intended to provide a place for employers to connect with students and schools to highlight the many career opportunities available in the local area has launched. is the result of a collaboration between the Central Pennsylvania Workforce Development Corporation, Central PA CareerLink (which includes PA CareerLink Columbia/Montour Counties), and the Foundation of the Columbia Montour Chamber of Commerce

Here is what organizations can do with the website. 


Share information you want young people, teachers, and parents to know about your business. Highlight reasons young people should consider a future with your company and what steps they must take to start a successful career with your business.


Post career experiences you are able to offer and when you offer them. You set the agenda and define whether you’ll offer experiences such as company tours, internships, co-ops, and job shadows. Schools will initiate connections with your designated staff through the click of a button.


You’ll meet young people and educators who are eager to learn from you! Build meaningful connections with schools and students more efficiently and effectively as you look to find the next generation of leadership and impact the future.

To register your business on this website, visit the website and the instructions for doing so. 


Welcome The Keystone School

More than 400 businesses and organizations belong to the Chamber to receive benefits and support efforts to strengthen their businesses and our region. Increased membership allows us to offer additional programs and benefits, have a stronger voice in advocacy and be involved in more activities and initiatives in our communities. The Chamber welcomes its newest member, The Keystone School, to help us fulfill our mission.

The Keystone School is an accredited online school that offers cyber education for all levels, from elementary school through adult learning. They have students from all around the country as well as internationally. The Keystone School is a division of K12, Inc. Located at 920 Central Rd. in Bloomsburg, Keystone School can be reached at 1-800-255-4937, or visit its website

Designing a Successful Employee Benefits Program

From ChamberChoice & Smart Business Pittsburgh

Let’s face it, one of the most important and costly issues for employers today is implementing and managing a successful employee benefits program.

“When it comes to retaining and recruiting quality employees, your benefits program is a critical component, and in most cases, it can account for 40 percent or more of total compensation costs,” says Ron Smuch, Insurance and Benefits Analyst at JRG Advisors. “Employers should take the time to implement a strategic, well-thought-out benefits program that meets the employee needs and the business objectives.

Smart Business spoke with Smuch about what employers need to consider to achieve a successful benefits program.

How do the objectives and budget shape these programs?

A successful employee benefits program has clearly identified objectives. If you’re offering benefits just so you can say that ‘we offer benefits,’ you’re missing the mark.

Identifying clear objectives will lay the groundwork and guidance to establish the selection and design of your benefits program. Keep in mind, the objectives should reflect both the employer and employee needs. Additional factors also to be considered include employer size, location and industry. Unless you have an open checkbook, budget is an equally important factor. If you already have a benefits plan in place, current benefits costs and projected costs should be analyzed.

Why are the employees’ needs important?

A survey or needs assessment should be conducted to identify the coverage, cost and network that reflect the needs of your employees. Benefits are by no means one-size-fits-all in today’s diverse workforce. Gaining feedback from your employees will increase motivation and satisfaction with the benefits program. Employee feedback can also help to prioritize which benefits would be most helpful in achieving satisfaction with the plan.

How can employers use survey data?

After analyzing the employee feedback, employers should prioritize the survey findings. For example, the cost of providing the prioritized benefits can then be evaluated and compared to the overall budget and cost sharing methodology.

This process can involve many factors. For instance, should changes be made to the current benefits plan design to promote cost savings? Can underutilized benefits not important to employees be eliminated? What cost containment features can be implemented? These are all important points to evaluate when considering the design of the benefits program.

Where does communication come into play?

Developing effective communication channels should be at the forefront of the planning and management of any employee benefits program. The only way to get employees on board is to ensure that they fully understand their benefits and coverage. Without employee support and satisfaction, an employer’s efforts could prove futile. If employee feedback was used as a determining factor in the benefits program design, employers should make employees aware of how their feedback influenced the design.

Additionally, communications with employees about benefits should extend beyond legal requirements. A good communications strategy and dialogue create awareness and appreciation, provide a heightened understanding of the benefits and promote wise use of the coverages.

What about ongoing evaluation?

Review and assessment of the plan throughout the year will ensure you are meeting employer and employee objectives. Many factors can impact the benefits program, such as the economy, regulatory environment and workforce demographics.

Set the measurements on your goals in order to assess the benefits program and quantify adjustments. The use of benchmarking data and periodic employee surveys further assist employers in evaluating the effectiveness of the employee benefits program.