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Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) are an inexpensive benefit that reap a high reward.

Offered by employers at no cost to the employee, EAPs help employees manage such issues as finances, family matters, divorce, caregiving and addictions. The programs are confidential and usually provide an employee with three or four counseling sessions with a licensed professional, sometimes in-person, but often on the phone or online. The sessions are the first step for an employee who needs additional help.

Employers who are financially unable to offer a robust benefits plan should think about offering EAPs as a supplemental benefit. The more benefits we can offer employees, the more productive they’re going to be, and productivity drives the success of a business. Employees, in turn, will be glad their employer cares enough to offer the benefit.

EAPs are a good resource for employees. As a Human Resources professional, I’ve suggested EAPs to employees who had a difficult situation at home, but didn’t want to share it with me.

The cost to the employer is based on the number of people who use the benefit. If employees need additional services, the company will help them find local services that are covered by their insurance plan.

Learn more about EAPs at my free workshop at noon Oct. 16 at 212 Main St. in Sturbridge.

More people to be eligible for overtime pay

The Department of Labor issued its final rule on the salary level for overtime pay Sept. 24, raising the threshold to $35,568. The new rule will take effect Jan. 1, 2020.

Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), employees who earn less than $684 per week, or $35,568 a year, and meet specific duties tests will be eligible for overtime pay if they work more than 40 hours a week. The current salary threshold for overtime compensation is $455 per week, or $23,660 a year. The Obama administration had raised the threshold to $913 per week, in addition to mandating automatic increases for inflation, but a federal judge blocked the rule, finding the rate too high.

As a result of this final rule, employers are expected to reclassify more than a million workers from exempt to nonexempt.

Navigating medical marijuana laws  

As more states legalize medical or recreational marijuana use, employers should review their employee handbooks to make sure they address current laws.

Although marijuana use is still illegal under federal law, 33 states and Washington, D.C., have legalized medical marijuana use. Eleven of those states and Washington, D.C., also have legalized recreational marijuana use.

Read more

Upcoming workshops

As I mentioned earlier in this newsletter, we’ll discuss Employee Assistance Programs at the Lunch and Learn workshop Oct. 16. These monthly workshops, sponsored jointly with Dennis A. McCurdy, CIC, CFP of McCurdy Group, are free and start at noon at Dennis’ office at 212 Main St., Sturbridge.


The Nov. 20 workshop will feature a discussion about addiction recovery by Judeline Galek, owner of Passaje, a Family Recovery Life Coaching business.


Please join us for more information on these important Human Resources issues. Register for the workshops at Eventbrite or by emailing me or Dennis’ office.

If you have questions, contact me at melodybeachconsulting@gmail.com or Dennis at damccurdy@mccurdyinsurance.com.



Melody L. Beach Consulting Group
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