President Biden Signs Law Making Juneteenth a Federal Holiday

On June 17, 2021, President Biden signed into law Juneteenth National Independence Day, making June 19 the 12th federal holiday. Juneteenth commemorates the end of slavery in the United States in 1865, almost three years after the Emancipation Proclamation was signed in 1862.

Most federal employees will observe the holiday on Friday, June 18 this year, and many local and state governments have followed suit. While private employers are not required to recognize federal holidays, the passage of the Juneteenth law is an opportunity to review your employee handbook leave policies generally and your holiday schedule specifically. Employers have several options for designing a holiday schedule that aligns with their strategic goals, workplace culture, DEI initiatives, and customer or client needs.

Lake Effect is here to answer your questions about your workplace culture, leave policies, and employee handbooks. We continue to monitor important legal and HR developments, as well as COVID-related updates from federal, state, and local authorities. Please keep watching our blogs and emails for these important updates, as well as discussions of how compliance meets culture. To dive into these issues, contact us at info@le-hrlaw.com or 1-844-333-5253.

Giving Thanks

A TIME

for THANKS

We'd like to share our gratitude, along with some recipes that have brought us comfort and joy over the years

#bekind #staywell #grantgrace

For most of us, Memorial Day weekend has always served as the unofficial kick-off to the summer season, a long weekend spent with family and friends enjoying time together and creating memories. But the reality of life with COVID-19 has put many of these plans on hold and makes leaving the house feel like an act of bravery.

Over the past few months, the Lake Effect team has been sharing with you the latest government updates and guidance. Today, we would like to take a few moments to recognize the true meaning of Memorial Day and honor those who have lost their lives in active military service, a true act of bravery.

Next, we want to help you officially kick off the Summer of 2020 with some old school good vibrations! In March, when the reality of living in a world with COVID-19 became clear, our team came up with three phrases signifying how we wanted to face the uncertain times ahead:

  • Be Kind
  • Stay Well
  • Grant Grace

Be Kind: COVID-19 has impacted everyone in different ways. We will have good days and bad, but any act of kindness we can provide each other, even a stranger, goes a long way toward getting through these days together. This weekend, how can you make someone smile by sharing your kindness?

Stay Well: Not only should we monitor our temperatures, practice social distancing, and wash our hands frequently, but we should be mindful of our mental health as well. It is important that we stay aware of our current mental state, and care for ourselves and each other. There have been times when some of us had to take a personal” timeout,” and other times when we just needed to be there for each other (of course, via phone or Microsoft Teams). This weekend, soak up some sun, have an impromptu picnic with the family at one of our lovely parks, take advantage of the rain that is in the forecast and binge on Netflix all day, or make more bread – whatever fills your tank mentally and physically.

Grant Grace: The challenges we face today are many. For some, social distancing has led to feelings of isolation; for others, it has led to crowded homes with children home from school all day or college kids reluctantly returning home early; it has converted dining room tables or kitchen counters into unintended classrooms and home offices. We have cancelled weddings and graduations, and we have postponed memorials and funerals to say goodbye to loved ones. No matter how hard we try to stay strong, we are not perfect. This is a stressful time for all of us. Our quirks shine brighter than ever when we are stressed. Be gentle with yourself and with others. We’ll get through this together.

So, enjoy your holiday weekend in whatever form it takes. #bekind #staywell #grantgrace

Jenn Lindberg Joins Lake Effect HR & Law

blankWe are excited to announce the addition of Jennifer Lindberg, SPHR, SHRM-SCP to the Lake Effect HR & Law team!

Jenn has over 23 years of experience in a wide range of human resource activities, including recruiting, employee development and training, executive and leadership coaching, benefits administration, policy development and implementation, employee relations, workplace investigations, anti-harassment initiatives, and strategic planning.

Prior to joining Lake Effect, Jenn worked in-house as Human Resource Manager at Forward Service Corporation and ABR Employment Services and, before that, served as a strategic HR advisor at a statewide HR company. Throughout her career, Jenn has assisted employers in a variety of settings, including professional services, staffing, tech and biotech companies, as well as non-profit and religious organizations.

“I am ecstatic to join the amazing Lake Effect team,” Lindberg said. “I have been fortunate to work with both Jane and Tricia in the past, and I jumped at the opportunity to work with them and this incredibly talented group. I know that my background and experience will serve the current and future needs of Lake Effect’s clients.”

Jane Clark, CEO and Managing Partner, remarked on how thrilled she was to have Jenn join the growing business, “Jenn is a welcome addition to the Lake Effect team! Her extensive knowledge of human resources and benefits will augment our services. With her engaging personality, commitment to lifelong learning, and experience handling very difficult coaching and management issues, Jenn will dive right in to serve and advise our clients. Without a doubt, Jenn is a perfect fit with our culture, mission and core values – she has the same keen intellect, quick wit, and ready laugh as the rest of the Lake Effect team.”

Check out Jenn's full bio here.

Department of Labor Releases Overtime Final Rule

On September 24, 2019, the Department of Labor (DOL) announced the long-awaited final rule on overtime and the salary level threshold for exempt workers. This final rule will become effective on January 1, 2020. Under the new rule, an estimated 1.3 million additional workers will be eligible for an estimated $298.8 million in overtime pay.

The DOL’s final rule:

  • raises the standard salary level from the currently enforced level of $455 per week to $684 per week (equivalent to $35,568 per year for a full-time worker);
  • allows employers to use nondiscretionary bonuses and incentive payments (including commissions) paid at least annually to satisfy up to 10% of the standard salary level;
  • raises the total annual compensation requirement for “highly compensated employees” (HCEs) from the currently enforced level of $100,000 per year to $107,432 per year (NOTE: Wisconsin does not recognize this exemption); and
  • adjusts the special salary levels for workers in U.S. territories and the motion picture industry.

The DOL also noted that, while it did not incorporate automatic updates to the salary level, it intends to update the standard salary and HCEs total annual compensation levels on a more frequent basis in the future.

Please see the DOL’s Fact Sheet on the final rule here.

Notably, the DOL made no changes to the duties tests for exempt workers and HCEs. Please keep in mind that, to be exempt, employees must satisfy both the salaried basis test and one of the exempt duties tests.

The attorneys and HR professionals at Lake Effect HR & Law are ready and willing to assist and advise if you have questions about how this final rule may impact your workforce and pay practices. Contact us at info@le-hrlaw.com or 1-844-333-5253.

Lake Effect HR & Law, LLC
(844) 333-5253 (LAKE)
info@le-hrlaw.com

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