The Pros and Cons of New Overtime Rules

The Pros and Cons of New Overtime Rules

President Obama’s new overtime rules raise the overtime annual salary threshold to $50,400 from $23,600. This change will expand overtime protection to include nearly 5 million workers in 2016, as stated by the President, and reported in Huffington Post.

According to the President, “a hard day’s work deserves fair pay,” and the reform will be good for lower salaried workers who have been putting in long hours of overtime with no additional compensation. The President also stated that the change will benefit employers who are already compensating their employees fairly, as they can no longer be undercut as easily by businesses that have been underpaying their workers with the prior overtime threshold.

As discussed in an article on NPR News, under the old rule, any salaried manager who made more than $23,600 a year could be required to work extra hours with no additional pay, while overtime was strictly limited for non-salaried employees. Employers often misclassify workers as managers – yet at lower salaries – to avoid paying overtime.

Updating the Fair Labor Standards Act with a significantly higher overtime threshold can help put an end to this abuse. In the future, employers will be forced to hire more workers, as opposed to overworking existing salaried employees, or pay their salaried employees overtime rates at time and a half, unless they make more than $50,400 a year.

Some employers consider President Obama’s proposed changes to be unrealistic and burdensome, as discussed in a Rochester Home Page article. New business owners interviewed for the article stated that the change will affect their plan to convert from hourly to salaried employees as the business expands.

One of these owners said that he would simply hire more employees for lower-skilled positions, and if he did hire salaried workers, he would limit their hours to no more than 40 per week. The existing overtime threshold for salaried workers is below the poverty level for a four-person family, according to the Rochester Home Page article.

A Washington Post story on the subject reports that, according to a well-known economist, the change could have the advantage of creating additional jobs. Workers get paid time and a half for their overtime hours. Employers may decide to hire more workers to avoid paying time and a half – hence more jobs may be created.

Some salaried employees may find themselves in the position of working fewer hours instead of being paid for their overtime after the reform goes into effect. Although this may not pad the pocketbooks of those workers, at least they will have more personal time free, and hopefully a higher quality of life.

Make It Like New: Renovating an Old Building for a New Retail Space

Make It Like New: Renovating an Old Building for a New Retail Space

Whether you are starting a new business or are expanding, finding the right space is essential. Depending on your location, there are may be many older and abandoned properties with historical value, loads of potential, and in need of a little TLC. These days, when city dwellers across the country are urging to keep downtown business districts alive, an older building may be the perfect fit for your business; particularly if the price is right.

Whether you love the clean lines on a Classical Revival building or are head over heels about the masonry construction and arches of a Romanesque Revival building, any old building you choose to renovate may require some work. Rather than feeling overwhelmed by your work in progress, look at your purchase as an opportunity to make your business stand out.

Safety First

Much of an old building’s charm is visible on the outside, but in order to capture the original look on the inside, it may require peeling and tearing out layer upon layer of outdated building materials (such as paneling, plaster, carpeting, and linoleum). However, you may also come across a building that looks as though it has never been touched by modern architecture. Either way, you will need to make sure that your building is a safe place for your business and that it won’t put you or your patrons in danger.

  • Inspection: Have the building inspected by a professional. He or she will closely examine every aspect of the building from the roof to the foundation to determine the building’s safety. This report will help you decide how much to invest in the remodel and how much assistance you may need from a designer/architect.

  • Beware of Red Flags: The price tag may be too good to pass up, but are there are some red flags to consider such as hazardous materials like asbestos. Many old buildings contain the carcinogen and should not be destroyed or removed without a professional.

Asbestos can be found in almost every type of building material prior to the late 1970’s. “Asbestos has been used in heating and domestic water systems, including pipes, boilers and tanks. It also has been used in vinyl and linoleum flooring, and drop-in ceiling tiles,” says Belluck & Fox

Design Tips

Once you’re given the green light to go ahead and start renovating, it may be hard to decide where you want to start. While money will most likely be the deciding factor, plan a design that focuses on energy conservation and safety without losing your business’s unique style.

  • Spend to Save: There are many features in the old building that you may want to hang on to such as tall ceilings, ornate light fixtures, and large store front windows. You can keep some of these charming features and add some updated, money saving designs. Consider saving light fixtures, but adding more efficient lighting. Keep the large windows, but make sure there is new weather stripping around the windows.

Additionally, get rid of features such as mail chutes, that may interrupt efficient heating and cooling. If you’re lucky, you may find some inexpensive replicas (flooring or lighting) that perfectly match some of your building’s vintage charm.