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Give proper notice before changing employees' pay

You already know that the minimum salary for exempt employees is set to sharply increase on December 1st, 2016. Did you also remember that by mid-November you may need to give written notice to employees affected by this change?

On December 1st, the minimum salary for exempt employees is increasing to $913 per week  ($47,476 per year).  The current minimum salary is $455 per week ($23,660 per year).   Many employers will not be able to increase all of their exempt employees' pay to that level and instead will need to convert some exempt employees into non-exempt employees.  This change will affect the employees' pay rates.  In turn, that will trigger the employers' duty to give advance notice of the change.  


Under the West Virginia Wage Payment and Collection Act, an employer is required to notify employees at the time of hiring of their "rate of pay, and of the day, hour, and place of payment."  W. Va. Code § 21-5-9.    If an employer plans to make any changes in those arrangements, the employer must "notify his employees in writing, or through a posted notice maintained in a place accessible to his employees."  Id.  According to the West Virginia Division of Labor's regulations, the notice must be given "at least one full pay period prior to the effective date of the change."  W. Va. Code St. R. 42-5-4.2.


Employers should consider giving notice more than one full pay period in advance.   Many employees who are being converted from exempt to non-exempt will see the conversion as a demotion and may resent the obligation to track all of their time.   Others may not understand that they cannot "volunteer" time for the good of the organization.  Whether employees welcome or resent the change, they will have many questions.  To ensure a smooth transition, employers should give affected employees ample time to understand the changes and the employers' timekeeping policies.   December 1st may seem far away, but employers need to start making plans right now.



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