Reminder – CALL TO ACTION: Weigh in on How Overtime Changes Would Affect Your Business

From PA Chamber of Business & Industry

Business leaders have an opportunity to make their voice heard on a critical employment issue.  The public has until July 23 to provide feedback to state regulators regarding proposed changes to Pennsylvania’s overtime eligibility rules, which were unveiled by the Dept. of Labor and Industry a few weeks ago.   The changes include a wage threshold for “exempt status” that is more than double the current rate set by the federal government.  There would also be significant revisions to so-called “duties tests,” which are also used to determine eligibility.  Finally, the rule would establish an automatic update to the salary threshold every three years beginning in 2023.

It was only a few years ago, during the Obama administration, that such changes were proposed at the federal level.  At that time, the reaction from employers was swift and deeply negative, particularly among small businesses, nonprofit organizations, higher education institutions and the health service industry, among others.  At that time, 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.  Following this outcry, the proposal was ultimately struck down by a federal court.

The PA Chamber is encouraging employers to speak out against this flawed proposal now being pursued at the state level, which would further harm Pennsylvania’s competitiveness. Visit our website to learn more about this important issue and write an email to the Independent Regulatory Review Commission, which has the power to reject or require changes to the proposed rules.  The PA Chamber is also leading a coalition urging the commission to extend the public comment period deadline, to allow employers and the public in general enough time to analyze the full impact of the proposed rules on their company and submit comments. 

Want to learn more about how the proposed new rules could impact your employees and your business’ bottom line?   Sign up today for a free webinar that will explore the consequences of the overtime changes.  At 11 a.m. on Thursday, July 19, employment defense attorney Joshua C. Vaughn will cover the breadth of these changes; how employers can start planning for compliance; which employees will be eligible for overtime under the new standards; how to convert their status from salaried to hourly; and more.

Welcome Framing By CJ

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, Framing By CJ, to help us fulfill our mission.

Framing By CJ is a local, family-owned business that provides custom frames for almost any occasion or purpose. From special pieces of art, to keepsake items, to about anything you can think of, Framing By CJ can make a one-of-a-kind, custom frame for whatever your needs. In nearly 20 years since founding her business in 1999, owner CJ Whitenight-Hamill has been providing framing needs for individuals and businesses in both the local area and throughout the country from her location at 804 Market St. in Bloomsburg. Framing By CJ also offers a gift gallery at its retail location made up of numerous unique gifts for any occasion. Open Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., and Wednesday and Saturday from 10 a.m. – 1 p.m., Framing By CJ also offers additional hours by appointment. Framing By CJ can be reached at 570-784-5660 or by email

Affordability Percentages For Employer-Sponsored Health Plans Will Increase in 2019

From ChamberChoice

On May 21, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issued Revenue Procedure 2018-34 to index the contribution percentages in 2019 for purposes of determining affordability of an employer’s plan under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). For plan years beginning in 2019, employer-sponsored coverage will be considered affordable if the employee’s required contribution for self-only coverage does not exceed:

  • 9.86 percent of the employee’s household income for the year, for purposes of “pay or play rules,” and premium tax credit eligibility
  • 8.3 percent of the employee’s household income for the year, for purposes of an individual mandate exemption (adjusted under separate guidance)

Homeland Security Offers Workplace Safety Resources

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has online resources to help businesses and organizations avoid and plan for violent attacks. Know the warning signs of a possible attack through a vehicle ramming, crowded place, or active shooter situation. Informational resources, including action plan templates, are available at DHS’ website.

Thanks to the Columbia County Emergency Management Agency for providing the information.

Grants Available to Organizations From Pennsylvania’s Volkswagen Settlement Funds

As many are aware, Volkswagen was required to donate funds to the government as a result of its diesel emissions violations in 2015. In Pennsylvania, those funds were designated to reducing emissions from diesel engines throughout the state and there are multiple funds/grants that are scheduled to open soon that may be available and of interest to some member organizations. There will be grant money for items such as electric vehicle chargers for multifamily residences, public places and employers. There are also rebates for buses to transition to alternative fuels. 

Some programs are currently closed, but will be opening soon. The PA Department of Environmental Protection is administering these programs, and has set up a website with all of the pertinent information about the various programs and grants available. Any interested organizations or individuals can also sign up to be added to an email list to stay informed about grant application openings and deadlines.