Monthly Archives: May 2016

Overtime Rules Update

The Department of Labor’s new Overtime Rules are causing a great deal of planning and decision-making very quickly, since employers need to comply by December 1, 2016 – just a few months from now.

These rules are predicted to cause 4.2 million employees nationwide to receive overtime pay who weren’t before, and to make it easier for 8.9 million people who already were eligible (but weren’t receiving overtime pay) to be fairly compensated.

One interesting note: this new salary threshold will not be static for several decades, like the last time it was set. Under this new regulation, the salary threshold will be reviewed and updated every 3 years.

Here is a handy collection of resources and responses.

The sources for these resources are from both the nonprofit community (MNCN website, which also includes several trainings) and the business community.

Here is the rule itself (with a video):   Extra Hours = Extra Pay

For further clarity, the US DOL issues some fact sheets to assist with implementation:

Brief Fact Sheet for the Non-Profit Sector

More Detailed Fact Sheet for Non-Profit Organizations and “white-collar” work including information on the duties test

Here is some additional information from AccountingWeb on these new rules.

And a variety of aspects from FastCompany:

 

There will be short-term adjustments and challenges, but we all do better when we all do better!
Further resources, helpful information welcome!

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Keyboard Control in Forms

It’s just a pet peeve of mine.

Years ago, during a period when I was using Access a lot, I got to design forms and you can set the tab control in an MS Access form pretty easily. Down one side and then to the fields on the right? Or across then down, across then down? You think about user interface, and make decisions. Then as you use the form, can modify and improve.

So many times these days, especially in web forms, that capacity seems to be lost. Maybe it is really really hard to control on sites, I honestly don’t know. But I feel quite skeptical.

You go to a site page which exists solely for the purpose of typing data in, but you can’t simply start typing, you need to click in the field first. And then when you tab out of the first field, it doesn’t necessarily take you to the next field! Some pages / screens, you need to mouse from field to field.

It used to be that there were keyboard commands for navigation in nearly every instance.

I strongly encourage anyone involved in such things to take that back in to account, and move us forward to a more efficient process.

Any tips / suggestions/ feedback much welcome!

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Bookshelf Review: the Rise of the Naked Economy

In the ongoing re-organization called Life, I came across this book and skimmed/read it to make keep/discard decisions.

It’s in the ‘Keep’ pile, but only just barely; and only for the function of identifying fallacies and wishful thinking.

I found the facile tone and smudged glossiness of the imagery very off-putting.

This book described happily the new work reality, in which many of us are super-specialists, providing very highly polished skills to a perpetually delighted market.

Others of us are to be generalists _ also very crucial, we’re told_ filling in gaps and doing – you know – general things.

All the infrastructure and ‘normal’ trappings of work are to be discarded – offices, established work relationships and protocols, permanence of any kind. Except for managers perhaps  – they can have trappings. But none for the rest!

It mentions at the end a few minor glitches – health insurance (and other benefits), collections problems, taxation policies that burden entrepreneurs vs. customers.

So ok, in reality – those minor things are kind of major, and many unstated problems exist which vastly outweigh the benefits.

For one thing, earning enough money to live on as a freelancer is very difficult to do in conjunction with maintaining the skill sets and knowledge base of a specialist. Apparently these new roles come with some sort of time-turning magical device!

Most utilization of freelancers takes place within a mature, structured workplace; because of all the ways in which that structure is necessary. The main body of activity in ‘getting things done’ will always need to happen within a permanent structure. Large groups of people engaging in innovation or existing service provision require permanent physical locations, computer and telephone technologies, long-standing interpersonal relationships.

There won’t ever be a ‘flash mob’ of people who are able to come together all as strangers for a short period to get a new design from research through the marketplace etc..

The flicking-off of a small percentage of positions from employment to contractor status weakens the people in those positions, as well as the organization itself: whether the specifics are adjunct faculty or accounting contractors. A great deal is lost when functional responsibility is lost in the shuffle.

I strongly feel that this push will turn out to have been profoundly wrong-headed; beneficial to small sets of people who managed the provision of freelance service and also to the people making the outsourcing decisions – at least until enough time passes to make clear the full impact of those decisions.

Meanwhile, from day one all the way through until a more complete relationship is re-established, the person providing the service is under-compensated. Financially, and on the wider basis as far as ongoing stability and life-planning foundation and career-wise and so on.

So many building blocks of a solid future exist only within the employment relationship. To actually replace those for freelancers – sincerely and in good faith – would take much more generous monetary compensation as well as a range of other substantive realities that have not at all been even explored, much less implemented. The reality is that these relationships have not been in good faith, but have been part of the hollowing out of the middle-class.

These authors – Ryan Coonerty and Jeremy Neuner – are themselves not distanced observers, but directly within the paradigm they’re discussing – they are both involved with NextSpace, an early pioneer in the coworking model.  Which brings up another aspect of this book – it weaves present and future, concrete realities and wishful generalizations, coal and diamonds to such an extent it’s difficult to digest.

But coworking itself is fascinating, and a great environment for certain types of functions. For folks in social media for instance, I can see how it would be perfect. It has its downsides (one example set), and will have growing pains as it matures (real estate prices for instance). But as it solidifies it also becomes one of the ‘infrastructure’ pieces that it itself is replacing, reminiscent of the conclusion of Vonnegut’s ‘Player Piano’.

This book also suggest using free resources whenever possible as a freelancer, to support the no-overhead model. Those free resources are reminiscent of procurement-chain management, in which smaller business were replaced with corporate/global supplies. Both paradigms deprive small, locally-held businesses of needed volume, causing constricted decision-making and diminished futures. More evidence of the wrong-headedness of this model

“Fun to Read!” says the book jacket. Not always ‘Fun’ to live!

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