DOL Questions about Duties Tests – The Facts

DOL Questions about Duties Tests – The Facts


Recently, there have haven’t been any changes made to the duties testing. This is the testing that sees which employees are exempt from overtime and which are not. This doesn’t mean, however, there won’t be any changes in the near future. According to some of the higher-ups, employees should still keep their eyes peeled

The Department of Labor

What types of things does the DOL look at?


There have been a number of people asking about different type of changes. Many have been asking what is working with the duties testing and what is not.


There has been a number of questions, as of late, about an employee’s primary shifts. If a person wants to be exempt from working the overtime status, how can he or she go about this? Should there be a set number of hours that need to be worked previously, so they can qualify?

Say a person works 50 hours a week. Could that person qualify for the exemption status? If not, how many hours does he/she need to have worked?


Should the law be taken into account? Should the 50 hour work week model be used as an example? Some employees prefer to work on something during “overtime.” This way he/she can get more money. Is this the wrong model to use? Should we include all “proposed” overtime work in the regular 50 hour week? This way we get a chance to see just how productive each worker is. This ideology is mentioned in California Law. Maybe there is something to this.

non-exempt workers


There are two types of tests. There is the long form and the short form. There has been a long-standing question as to the validity of both forms. Do both forms truly make appropriate decisions? Are some workers who should be exempt from overtime duties, actually becoming non-exempt.

There are workers who shouldn’t be pulling the overtime duties because of health reasons. Are these men/women falling through the cracks with these tests? This is something which might need to be looked at. There are some workers who are not fit to be working, who are actually working.


There is also the question of both upper and lower-level employees. Some are exempt and working those non-exempt jobs, while others are the exact opposite. Where are the upper-level workers in all of this? Are there cases where these men/women can pick up the slack? Just because someone is upper-level, doesn’t mean they should automatically be non-exempt.

What about the work itself. Are exempt workers performing non-exempt jobs? Is just the opposite happening in some businesses. This all needs to be looked. Is there a difference between what the tests are showing, and what is actually being done? What types of changes need to be addressed? These types of changes need to be fair to everyone. Are they?

As an aside, this employment law content was written to inform, educate and protect small businesses from compliance issues. If you have employees, you’ll need quality protection. If you’re operating in San Francisco, try one of these California labor law posters for complete employer compliance. Their in-house legal staff works tirelessly to ensure their state and federal labor law posters are always in line with the current regulations.




This is just one of the many comments made by an attorney recently. “We feel that employers need to be ready for certain changes.” These changes could also include an increase in money.

If a person is being asked to do overtime, then he or she needs to be paid the right amount. It’s not fair to any overtime employee to be paid the regular amount he/she normally sees. The pay needs to reflect the job.

At the end of the day, employers need to also have a say in this. It’s not fair to have an exempt employee doing non-exempt work. It’s not fair for some capable workers to be slipping through the cracks like they are.

The tests need to be more strict“, according to one boss. Why? If these tests are not strict, it will mean that some workers will get an unfair advantage. Right now there are employees who are getting out of certain jobs, jobs they are more than capable of doing.

We have to make this fair though,” remarked one CEO. If certain people are getting paid overtime for work, then those people should have a say in their salary. “If this means making changes to the tests, this is what we have to do.




This is one for major debate right now. Insiders have said this needs to be agreed upon across the board. If not, there will be one or two options.

1) The uniform salary based program—which is already in effect.

2) Taking the lower-salary basis program, with the California Law thrown in there. This means the person will need to perform all duties within a 50 hour week. He/she will do this all on a lower salary. At the end of the week, people will know where they stand with the overtime incentive.


Right now a battle is being drawn. Only time will tell how this one comes out. How do you feel about this? Do you feel that a higher salary–without any duties testing–is the way to go? Do you feel this will create more harm than good in the workforce? Let us know in the comments below. Just click on the link.



Article provided by NECHES FCU, with convenient locations in Beaumont, Lumberton and Bridge City.

Neches FCU is a texas credit union and has an attentive team of professionals ready to serve their members. When the doors open at any of the several service centers, our core objective of “Ultimate Member Satisfaction” becomes the imperative for every representative. They are known for a personal, dynamic and fast-paced work environment, delivering a memorable service experience, and where clients are known by their name.

Neches FCU has approximately $438 Million in assets with over 45,000 members. Neches is considered by members and the business community as one of the top credit unions in texas and an actively involved partner, helping our Family, Friends and Community!

Creative Ideas for Showing Staff Your Appreciation

Creative Tips for Showing Employees Your Appreciation

Many studies have been done regarding the correlation between employee satisfaction and company performance. Professor Alex Edmans of the University of Pennsylvania has shown with his study done in 2010 that businesses that report high employee satisfaction perform better than those that are unhappy. How can an employer create happiness for their employees?

Staff Appreciation and Recognition
Staff Appreciation and Recognition


Recognition for a job well done and an appreciation for the hard work employees do are two essential elements of management style that can ensure employee happiness. After surveying employees about what makes them happy on the job, Business News Daily compiled a list of tips to help employers create happy employees. The list explores multiple ways a manager can create a successful company simply by showing appreciation to the employees.

Give Employees Your Valuable Time

When a boss takes the time to have coffee with an employee, go over past and future projects, or simply invites an employee to lunch, an employee feels valued. Time is one of the best gifts a manager or business owner can give to his employees and can boost moral within the company, especially when the company is busy.

Recognize Employee Growth
Recognize Employee Growth


Help Your Employees to Grow

Giving an employee the chance to grow within their field and showcase their talents lets the employee know a boss has faith in them. Offering opportunities to workers such as working on special projects or a chance to learn new skills through education can make them feel like they are an important part in the growth of the company. In addition, an employee that feels his boss trusts him to do good work or excel with new skills is much more productive on the job.

Give Employees Needed Time Off

Employees need time to rest and recharge. Multiple studies have been done that show workers who get enough time off and have more of a work-life balance are happier, more productive, feel appreciated and are more willing to go that extra mile on projects. Employees who have the time to visit doctors and manage life issues are also less stressful on the job.

Announce Employee Achievements
Announce Employee Achievements


Publicly Recognize Employee Achievements

One very good way to give employees recognition is to let the public know about his/her achievements. This is a great way to quickly boost morale for everyone as well. Share personnel achievements within the company or even the public at large. Noting achievements in a newsletter or company function is an easy way to give recognition to a deserving employee. One suggestion to improve your employee morale is to make sure you share holiday and business anniversary greetings with them. Never miss an opportunity to pass on your appreciation for them with corporate holiday cards, business holiday cards or work anniversary cards.

Involve Employees in the Decision Making Process

Decisions that are of importance to the company also impact the employees, so allowing employees to take part in the decision making process is a tangible way to show them that their experience and skills are important to the company. It also allows an employee to feel trusted by the company.

Step Outside the Office

A change of scenery always offers a fresh perspective on things, so try taking the employees out of the office for events, team building and educational experiences, and events meant just for fun. The extra time and financial investment by the company to host these events creates a feeling of gratitude and creates employees who feel valued.

Be honest with Employees
Be honest with Employees


Be Open with Employees

A company that is transparent with employees about what’s going on is a sign of honesty, which builds trust in the employee and keeps them happy. It can also create a sense for them everyone is on the same team and working towards a common goal.

Praise Individuals and Be Specific

Being specific with praise is an important skill for company leaders to have in order to have happy workers. Positive feedback that is specific to a task or achievement can encourage a worker to continue to develop their expertise. Specific praise has more of an impact and has better results than more vague praise.

Give Employees a Place to Share Ideas

It can be as simple as asking employees to share thoughts on a new copier or asking for ideas on a big project. When experience, expertise and ideas are valued, self-confidence and self-esteem of employees are boosted and positively impacted. Collaborative teams are an excellent place to openly share and have discussions with leaders and co-workers.

Do You Need Employees or Freelancers?

Does Your Business Need Full-time Employees or Freelancers?

Just as children growing into adulthood experience growing pains, there are growing pains to owning a business. For a business, these pains are not so much physical as they are financial and managerial, but they may still bring you to tears at times!

Brainstorming a business
Brainstorming a business

Perhaps the most difficult time period for a growing small business, particularly an entrepreneurial effort, is when additional help is needed within the company. It can be frightening, even, trying to decide whether the brand can support additional workers and, if it can, for how long.

Before stepping into an employer status, consider whether you really need employees. Would a freelancer or team of contract workers do the job just as well without long-term obligation? Do you have enough consistent, ongoing work to support employees and their needs? Below is some guidance to help you decide whether you should employ full-time workers or if freelancers are the right fit for your growing company.


Freelancers and Contract Workers

Hiring employees can be very costly. You can’t just consider salary or hourly wage; you must also take into account benefits, legal needs, accounting and payroll. These needs often require another person who specializes in human resources to guide and protect the company from potential problems. For a small brand, a freelancer (also called a contract worker) may be the right answer.

How Freelancers are Compensated

Freelancers only charge you for work they have completed, according to an agreed-upon contract rate. There are no benefits, taxes or legal issues to consider, outside of ensuring that the relationship is a true freelancer-client arrangement. The individual or company being subcontracted is entirely responsible for their own health insurance, taxes and other benefits.

You may be able to pay your freelancer monthly, weekly, as billed or through other terms that fit your cash flow better than a designated payroll date for an employee. How a freelancer bills you is based upon how his or her compensation terms are structured in the contract and whether he or she works for a contracting firm or as an individual.


Per Project Compensation

With freelancers, you may be able to agree to terms of compensation “per project.” This means that they will only be paid upon completion of an entire goal or set of goals. A project can be completed in one day or it can be something that takes a month or longer.

Sometimes, when arranging per project pay, a freelancer-client contract will require a portion of the compensation paid up front and a final amount upon completion. There may also be intervals of payments, to sustain the freelancer in longer projects. These are terms that a good written agreement should clarify.

Hourly and Monthly Pay

When a freelancer is paid hourly or on a monthly retainer, those terms are also outlined clearly in a written agreement. The contract must also state when each pay interval should be executed, whether compensation is delivered weekly, bi-weekly, monthly or on a specific date.

Also, find out if your freelancer has payment terms or if the compensation is due on the day a bill or progress report is handed to you. It is better to ask all of these questions in advance – and ensure they are in writing – than to suffer surprises along the way.

Written agreements
Written agreements

Importance of Clear Agreements

Finally, it is important that you discuss hours of work delivery, completion dates, obligations for supplies and equipment, and other expectations of the project. Some freelancers provide their own equipment, tools and even workspace for their services.

According to the Internal Revenue Service, there are certain things that a freelancer cannot be required to do, without being provided status and benefits of an employee. Whatever the mutual expectations are, you should have the freelancer provide written commitment to those rules before starting work.

Examples of Freelancing

Some examples of freelancing include IT or web design projects, wherein technical experts or web designers may even be located in another state or region than your company. They will likely charge a flat fee for their services with an expected finished project or website delivered in a specified period of time. They may charge an additional change or consultation fee for work beyond that first deliverable.

Someone such as a day laborer may work entirely on your site according to the hours you need. While things get sticky in the area of on-site management or directives of freelancers (who are, essentially, their own bosses), a good contract ensures everyone knows what the other expects.

A No-Brainer
A No-Brainer

Almost Headache Free

Depending upon your precise needs and expectations from additional workers for your company, freelancers can be an excellent medium for accomplishing goals without the headaches of regular employee management.

The key is to ensure the project or goals are clearly agreed upon in writing, along with compensation and specifics of project delivery. Freelancers’ rates may be higher than employees, but once the project is completed, you are no longer obligated to supply work or compensate them again, although you will likely have a great resource to call upon when in another crunch.


If you experience a regular and consistent need for help within your company, hiring an employee is likely a better and more cost-effective option than continuing or starting use of freelancers. Through an employee, there are benefits not experienced with freelancers. Those benefits may fit your situation for the long term.

A Blueprint
A Blueprint

Scope of Work

If you need just a logo designed, hiring an employee would likely result in a later search to find things for that person to do, in order to offset his or her hourly expense. If you have ongoing IT development or marketing needs, for example, you will benefit more from someone who gets to know your company, develops loyalty to it, is personally invested in ongoing growth of your brand, and can be provided with enough daily work and accomplishment to justify a continuing salary. That person would be a regular employee, not a freelancer.

Clear Definition
Clear Definition

Develop a Job Description

Before searching for the right employee, help yourself better hone in on what needs to be accomplished within the role. Develop a solid job description that you can also provide to applicants to reflect what you are seeking from the new hire.

This will help people interested in the job determine if they are the right fit, and you will know precisely whose resume provides a match with your expectations. Good examples of job descriptions can be found on the web for every common job title within a given field.

Budget for the New Hire

Figure out what the local competitive rate is for the job description and position title you developed for the role. Ensure you can afford this ongoing, inflexible expense.

If you struggle with the competitive rate, rather than trying to take on an employee at a lower rate (which will undermine loyalty and quality of work), consider finding a highly qualified and enthusiastic person who can accomplish more for your company in part-time hours than a lower-rate person could in full-time hours.

Parents with school-aged children, college students, retirees and many others with incredible aptitude and skill-sets are available on a part-time basis and may be able to grow into full-time hours when you are ready for them.


Match Personalities

As a small company, you are likely working in small quarters or need to maintain a heightened enthusiasm against bigger odds than a manager of a larger business department or someone at the helm of a big corporation.

When interviewing for your new hire, be sure you feel a certain hopeful chemistry with the applicant. Will he or she have the right attitude to help you accomplish growth-oriented company goals? Will he or she be the type to roll up his or her sleeves and happily pitch in during a crisis? While you should rarely be friends outside of work with employees, as it undermines the management hierarchy, this should be a person you can trust for the long term.  Have ideas on this topic? Please visit our NewsVine page and post your comments or recommend other resources to discuss this concept.


This great HR content was provided by, a leader in technology for small and emerging businesses.

Take a moment and think about how you manage your staff’s attendance issues and ongoing PTO and vacation accruals. What’s your preferred strategy? Is using employee time and attendance software? What about paper products you’ve been using for years? Is there someone you’ve outsourced your HR operations to? With the day to day hassles of running a business, modern day entrepreneurs and managers are shifting to using web-based employee scheduling software to simplify much of the ongoing chores involved in dealing with staff time tracking management. Leave a comment below to let us know please.


Save on Your 2014 Taxes by Sharing the Wealth

Save on Taxes in 2014 by Sharing the Wealth with Family

Many older individuals are taking a closer look at their finances today and are wondering how they can achieve specific financial goals that they have. Some may be completing tax planning steps, and others may be planning their estate. You may not realize it, but there are tax rules in place that may make it affordable and even beneficial for you to combine your tax planning and estate planning efforts together.

Save on taxes by sharing the wealth
Save on taxes by sharing the wealth


Common End-of-Life Plans

Many individuals will leave behind financial assets when they pass away, and these assets may include cash, stocks, bonds, mutual funds and other similar types of assets. If you are planning your estate today, you may be wondering how you can divide your assets as well as how you can decrease the estate or death tax that your loved ones may be burdened with upon your passing. While you may wait until your passing to divide your assets, there may be benefits to both you and your loved ones by sharing the wealth today.

The Effects of Giving Financial Gifts Now

In many families, the older family members have achieved a level of financial security and even wealth that younger family members have not yet achieved. This generally means that younger family members may be struggling financial and may have a considerably lower tax bracket to boot. The financial gift that you provide to them could benefit them by giving them money when they need it most, and it could benefit you by decreasing your own tax liability.


Giving Financial Gifts
Giving Financial Gifts

The Tax Rules for Lower Income Brackets

You may worry that gifting funds now would create financial hardship on loved ones by increasing their tax liability, but this may not be true. Consider that the tax rate for individuals in the bottom two tax brackets for long-term capital gains and dividends is zero percent. This means that those who are married filing jointly with taxable income of $73,800 or single with income of $36,900 or less will not pay taxes on the gift you give them. You will essentially transfer the shares into their name now to eliminate your tax burden without creating a tax burden for them.

The Right Decision For You

Before you gift your own assets, you should ensure that you will not need them later in life. It can be difficult to estimate the length of your living years, and some individuals who believe their end is approaching may still live a decade or longer. The last thing you want to do is to run out of money and still have many years ahead of you, so you should consider the amount of your gift carefully.

Consider the Value of the Assets

It is important to choose the gifts that you give to loved ones carefully. When you give assets that have depreciated in value since purchasing them, you will be giving away a deduction that you may benefit from. In order to prevent this and to maximize deductions for your benefit, only select assets to gift to loved ones that have appreciated in value.

Value of the Assets
Value of the Assets


Reducing the Size of Your Estate

There are limitations regarding the amount of assets that you can gift to loved ones each year, and there are personal financial reasons why you may want to limit the amount of your gifts as well. Generally, you want to think about reducing the size of your estate so that the amount that is passed on to loved ones after your death is minimized. This can reduce the amount of estate taxes that they will be responsible for paying.

Making Strategic Gifts

As you can see, there is some strategy involved in gifting your current assets to your loved ones during your living years. Making strategic gifts that have increased in value is important, and you also want to ensure that you will not need the funds yourself over the remainder of your life. You may consider making smaller donations now and increasing the amount of your gifts to loved ones later as you advance in age.


Making Strategic Gifts
Making Strategic Gifts


When to Seek Financial Assistance

Because of the potential tax liabilities in question for both you and your loved ones who will be receiving the gifts and because of the long term effect that the gifts can have on your own financial situation, you may consider seeking financial assistance before you make your gift.

By working with an estate planner, a financial adviser or an accountant who is skilled in this area, you will be able to make more informed decisions about your finances. There are dates when gifts must be made by in order to be included on the current tax year, so there is no better time than now to begin working with one of these financial professionals to begin planning your estate.

If you are in a situation where you may have more assets than you currently need and you plan to pass your assets on to your loved ones upon your death, you may be thinking that your loved ones could actually benefit from using those funds today. There are numerous personal, financial and tax benefits that all parties may enjoy when you give a financial gift this tax year.

However, before you make the decision to do so, thoroughly consider your own financial situation as well as the financial situation of the loved ones who may receive your gift. By doing so, you may be able to make a thoughtful decision that benefits all involved.

On top of all this, when it comes to your tax filings for yourself or clients, consider e-filing this year.  When considering solutions to efile 1099 forms, I recommend using services like  They’re an industry leader, and whether you use them or not, their service can be an excellent benchmark to measure other providers quality.

They handle everything – they efile 1099 and W-2 forms for you, as well as print and deliver your forms to recipients.  This will save you tons of running around and stress involved with organizing forms and postage, including running around to drop off the mail.  Their video is shown above, if you want to learn more.  If you have ideas on this topic to share, please visit our WordPress page here and leave your comments or suggest some useful links to explore on this topic.

Why Do I Need To Use The HCFA CMS 1500 Form in My Office?

There are countless forms to fill out when working at a medical office.

I guarantee you, it gets confusing to medical office staff. The most used insurance payment documents are the hcfa 1500 claim forms. Here’s a brief history for you:

  • It was named after the Centers for medicare & medicaid svcs
  • Previously known as the HCFA 1500, it was re-named the CMS 1500
  • Generally, this form is needed to solicit payment from various Medicaid State Agencies

Widely used by providers and suppliers in the medical industry.

The rule is that you have to file the form with the payer in less than 365 days of providing your services.  Downloading or photocopying the form is not recommended, as it’s printed with a specific type of ink. For efficiency reasons, the payers typically use Optical Character Recognition tools to scan the data, and process payment requests.

Surgical procedures under insurance coverage have to use the CMS 1500 for payments.
Surgical procedures under insurance coverage have to use the CMS 1500 for payments.


Virtually 100% of the time, if the ink is poor quality, scanning errors occur.

Successful submissions only result if you use the exact document, with the correct case details. What’s most critical to successful form submissions are using the most recent forms, with the right ink. If you ignore these steps, delayed payments and rejections are almost inevitable.

Wait too long to re-send the right form, you may not get paid.

The bottom line is you need forms that are trustworthy. Therefore, you need a quality source for the new hfca cms 1500 version 02/12 form. This ensures your office runs smoothly, and your claims are paid.