Member News – April 24, 2019

  • Lightstreet Rd. will be closed and a detour will be in place beginning on Monday, April 29 and running through Wednesday, May 15 for construction of the new pedestrian bridge. The Bloomsburg University campus and surrounding local roads will still be accessible, and crews will be working seven days a week to keep the closure and detour as short as possible. The formal detour will go down East Street, U.S. Route 11 and up Central Road. 

 

  • Bloomsburg University’s IT Outreach Webinar Series has a pair of upcoming webinars on IT-related issues scheduled in the coming weeks. On Wednesday, May 1, at 1 p.m., Jim Walker, chief security officer at Syntervision Inc. will present “The Real Cyber Threats a Big OS Vendor Won’t Tell You.” Then, on Wednesday, May 22, at noon, Ronald Fussell, program manager at Zel Technologies, LLC, will present “Software Systems Design Considerations. BU’s IT Outreach Webinar Series engages its local constituents in a purposeful manner about the trending topics in the IT field. Webinars are approximately 30 minutes in length. There is no cost to participate, however participants must register. For more information on these webinars or the series, visit BU’s dedicated website page

 

 

  • The Northern Tier Partners for the Arts, a partner of the Pennsylvania Partners in the Arts, will provide a free workshop on Wednesday, May 15, at the Bloomsburg Public Library, from 2-3 p.m., on grant writing for arts programming. This workshop will educate attendees on grant guidelines, application processes and criteria. For additional information, call 570-268-2787 or email

Relaxing and Fun Afternoon, Information on Business Growth Financing Highlight April Business After Hours

Attendees had an opportunity to enjoy a relaxing and laid back late afternoon over music from a local band and delicious food from Lucy’s Craft Catering while also having an opportunity to hear some information about business growth financing and assessing net worth at April’s Business After Hours held at G.S. Woods Financial Solutions in Danville on April 17.

A local acoustic band, Damon & The Gregs, which includes a realtor from fellow Chamber member RE/MAX Edge, performed a series of 80’s selections throughout the evening. G.S. Woods owner Graeme Woods also gave a brief presentation about business growth financing.

Business After Hours provide regular opportunities to build business relationships while learning about the services offered by other Chamber members. The next Business After Hours will be held at Ken Pollock Ford Lincoln, located at 1120 West Front St., Berwick, on Thursday, May 9, from 4:30-6:30 p.m.  

Welcome HillTops Services, LLC

More than 400 businesses and organizations belong to the Chamber to receive benefits and support efforts to strengthen their businesses and our region. Increased membership allows us to offer additional programs and benefits, have a stronger voice in advocacy and be involved in more activities and initiatives in our communities. The Chamber welcomes its newest member, Hilltops Services, LLC, to help us fulfill our mission.

Hilltops Services is an excavation, hauling and materials business that is locally owned and based in Bloomsburg. Founded in 1990, it provides excavation services, as well as sales and delivery of materials such as mulch, sand, stone, topsoil and much more. It can provide quantities from as small as one scoop of those materials to several dump truck loads, with discounts available based on quantity. Located at 105 Cross Rd. in Bloomsburg, HillTops Services is open Monday-Friday from 7 a.m. – 5 p.m. and Saturday from 7 a.m. – 3 p.m. It can be reached at 570-387-1772 or by email, or visit its website.

Chamber Foundation Director Selected to U.S. Chamber Fellowship Program

Jeff Emanuel, Foundation director

Jeff Emanuel, director of the Foundation of the Columbia Montour Chamber of Commerce, has been selected to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Business Leads Fellowship Program.  The program will consist of interactive classes taught by expert faculty on a variety of education and workforce topics, and includes a field trip to an innovative school. The agenda will include plenary classes, breakout classes, and is designed to provide grounding on the issues, as well as, practical tools that can be used to advance policies and programs in our communities. The first workshop focuses Fellows’ attention on early and K-12 education, as well as college and career readiness. The second workshop completes the talent pipeline with coverage of post-secondary education and a wide range of workforce development topics.

New Minimum Salary Threshold

From ChamberChoice

On March 7, 2019, the U.S. Department of Labor issued a proposed rule increasing the minimum salary threshold for overtime-exempt employees to $35,308 from the current level of $23,660. Employers may recall prior proposed rulemaking under the Obama administration that would have raised the minimum salary threshold to $47,476. The Obama-era rule was never implemented due to litigation, but employers should prepare to comply with the new salary minimum salary of $35,308 if they have not done so already.

The increased salary level may require employers to classify currently exempt employees as non-exempt. Employers may need to review and evaluate who may be eligible for overtime based on the new federal rules. Also, employers may want to look into rescheduling their employees so that they do not sustain overtime hours. Employers can take many other actions such as hiring new employees to spread the workload so that each employee has less overtime or no overtime hours at all, cutting costs in other areas in order to afford overtime hours for their employees, or increasing the salaries of employees to surpass the new requirement.

Even employers who currently pay salaried, exempt employees in excess of the proposed minimum of $35,308 should use this proposed rulemaking as an opportunity to reassess compensation and employee benefits companywide. This is especially the case for employers located in states or municipalities where the minimum wage may be increasing or already has increased above the federal hourly rate of $7.25. Coupled with nationally low unemployment, these salary and wage floor increases mean that it is vitally important to offer competitive benefits packages in order to attract and retain workers.

Of course, the rising minimum salary threshold for overtime employees and federal, state, and local minimum wage requirements apply to employers regardless of what benefits they offer. For employers who are forced to increase compensation due to the increased salary threshold for overtime employees, this may mean that employers should seek out more affordable employee benefit options to minimize the total increase in compensation and benefits costs. Relatedly, employers should balance the increased benefit costs that may come with hiring additional staff (to minimize overtime hours worked) compared to the increased number of overtime-eligible employees if the employer chooses to not raise salaries to comply with the rule. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to complying with the proposed minimum salary increase, so employers should work with their benefits advisors, human resources professionals, and legal counsel when needed to determine the best way to proceed.

This article gives a basic overview of recent regulation as in effect on the date of the newsletter. Please be aware that the determination of the requirements and the application of these rules to each employer may differ due to a number of variables. Nothing in this article should be construed as legal advice.