On November 22, the National Retail Federation secured an important preliminary injunction against the Labor Department’s new overtime regulations. The ruling in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas halts implementation and enforcement of the overtime rules nationwide until the court completes consideration of the underlying case brought by NRF, dozens of other business groups and 21 states. The ruling has since been appealed by the Department of Justice but the injunction remains in place while the appeal is under consideration.
The lack of certainty on the timing and outcome of a decision made it necessary for some retailers to begin the process of complying with the overtime rules, which had been scheduled to take effect on December 1. As a result, some employers have found themselves at different stages in the implementation process and need to evaluate what course of action is appropriate for their workforces in light of the injunction. The court-ordered timeout gives Congress a chance to reassess the impact of the rules and provides breathing room for retailers during the busiest time of year.
It is unknown whether the Labor Department’s appeal will be resolved by the time of President-elect Donald Trump’s inauguration on January 20. Trump has not taken a public position on overtime expansion but is not expected to support the regulations. His Labor Department could withdraw the appeal and allow previous overtime rules to remain in place, or draft a revised version that would be more acceptable to employers.
WHAT RETAILERS NEED TO KNOW NOW
With a temporary injunction in place, the new rules are put on pause. At the moment, retailers can halt any compensation and reclassification changes that were being made, in compliance with any applicable state and local laws. But since a final ruling has not been issued, employers should remain ready to comply if the injunction were to be reversed. NRF will closely monitor all legal developments and continue to be a resource for retailers needing guidance.
For retailers that may have already implemented changes, each company should evaluate which changes, if any, should be reversed considering the court’s ruling and the impact on employee relations.
NRF believes DOL’s overtime changes are too much, too fast for retailers and retail employees to bear without serious consequences for all. If implemented as written, the new rules would decimate the salaried workforce and deprive employees across the country of career advancement opportunities and workplace flexibility. NRF is hopeful that the courts will ultimately rule in retailers’ favor and permanently block the overreaching rules.
FRF Launches the Florida Grocers Association
The Florida Retail Federation (FRF), the state’s premier trade association representing retailers for over 75 years, recently held its 2015 Summer Meeting where President/CEO Rick McAllister announced that FRF’s Grocery Council will be rebranded to the Florida Grocers Association. This rebranded Association will continue to be a division of the Florida Retail Federation with a clear vision to serve Florida’s $45 billion grocery industry.
“Florida’s grocers are such an important and influential part of our economy, and we felt that this rebranding better reflects the impactful role they play for both businesses and consumers,” said McAllister. “We felt the Council needed to be better positioned to meet today’s needs and challenges of the state’s grocery industry, and the Florida Grocers Association provides the appropriate level of support and awareness.”
McAllister said that Tom Jackson, a current FRF consultant and a retired former CEO of the Ohio Grocers Association, will serve as Interim Executive Director of the new Florida Grocers Association, and will look to continue expanding its membership while also serving the needs of the more than 2,300 grocery stores and their industry partners statewide. Jackson currently serves as the Director of FRF’s Grocery Council.
“Tom brings a wealth of knowledge, experience and expertise about how to properly manage an organization of this size, while also growing its membership,” said McAllister. “Tom successfully ran a similar organization in Ohio for 25 years, and I look forward to the positive impact he’ll have here in Florida as we look to better serve the needs of Florida’s grocers.”
“I’m very excited about this new association, as it will provide a greater and more defined identity to serve Florida grocers,” stated Jackson. “Florida is the third largest state in the nation yet didn’t have a grocers association. Our industry is too big and too important not to be served by an association dedicated to grocer’s needs. With substantial resources already in place, like our excellent Government Relations Team and topnotch administrative support, we will hit the ground running.”
FRF will unveil a new logo, updated website and other marketing support for the Association in the coming weeks.
FDA Delays Menu Labeling Until December 2016
The Florida Grocers Association is pleased to announce that the FDA has delayed the implementation of Menu Labeling until December 1st, 2016.
Menu labeling has been one of our top federal priority issues. While this rule only applies to 20 or more stores operating under the same banner, we have also remained concerned about the long-term effects and compliance issues it has for the entire retail food industry.
We are pleased with the work of our partners at FMI & NGA as well as our members who have vigorously advocated on this issue. It is our hope that this delay will provide for further technical clarification and ultimately lead to a less burdensome approach to final compliance.
Retirement of Coupon Barcodes effective as of June 30
FMI, NACDS, NGA, GMA and GS1 urge retailers to prepare for the retirement of UPC Prefix 5 barcodes from manufacturer coupons. These symbols will no longer be used after June 30, as manufacturers shift to exclusive use of the GS1 DataBar™ format for coupons. To ensure readiness, retailers may simply need to enable the functionality in their systems. In some instances, software and/or hardware modifications may be required. Courtesy of NGA.
Revisions to Overtime Pay
The Department of Labor (DOL) issued its long awaited proposed rulemaking that will make revisions to the overtime pay provisions under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The proposal seeks to raise the salary test threshold from $23,660 a year to roughly $47,892 annually (or a projected $50,440 at the estimated time of the release of the final rule), meaning that individuals making less than $50,440 would be eligible for overtime pay if they are working in excess of 40 hour in a week. The proposed rule was published in the July 6, 2015 Federal Register with a 60-day comment period that closes on September 4th.
The Florida Grocers Association will be commenting and monitoring this overtime proposal carefully, as we believe this will have a significant impact on our Grocery Industry. Courtesy of FMI.
Good News! Expansion of SNAP Benefits
We are pleased to report that Randy Miller, FRF Executive Vice President, and his lobbying team, were able to secure the funding to expand the distribution of SNAP benefits from 15 days to 28 DAYS EACH MONTH!! This will be a major benefit to our members, as this will help with labor scheduling, balancing inventory and providing better service to your SNAP customers. In the past, with all the SNAP Benefits being distributed in just 15 days, grocers had a real surge in business and increased labor. This coupled with out of stocks and jammed isles created some challenges for the first half of each month.
With the distribution of SNAP (EBT) benefits spread over the entire month (28 days) this will even things out as it relates to labor hours, inventory and customer service. We will be meeting with the SNAP Administration to work out the details as the projected implementation date is March/April 2016. Thanks Randy and your team – for this a meaningful benefit to Florida Grocers and their SNAP Customers.
FDA Regional Food Safety Seminar
On behalf of the FDA’s Southeast Region Cooperative Programs Branch Retail Food Team and the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals, we are pleased to announce that the 2015 SER Retail Food Safety Seminar will be held in Baton Rouge, LA, from Monday, November 30, through Thursday, December 3.
This year’s seminar is hosted by the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals and will be held at the Crowne Plaza Baton Rouge, located at 4728 Constitution Avenue, Baton Rouge, LA 70808. Registration and a welcome reception are scheduled for Monday evening and the program concludes by noon on Thursday.
Additional information regarding hotel reservations, registration, and the agenda will be sent in the near future.
Recognizing our FGA Members
Congratulations to all of our winners!!!
2015 LOSS PREVENTION CONFERENCE
Don't Miss the “EARLYBIRD DISCOUNT” for the FRF Loss Prevention Conference!
Discounted registration ends TODAY!!!
Please click to view complete registration details.
October 12-13 in Tampa – This will be a great conference for grocers!
EMV Liability Shift Approaching
Unfortunately, the Department of Labor has rejected the industry’s request for an extension of the comment period for the significant changes for overtime compensation. There have been many comments filed indicating the impact that raising the salary threshold for exempted managers would have on the retail grocery industry. The Florida Grocers Association will continue to monitor this issue and keep you updated.
Food Safety Meeting
Recently, the Florida Grocers Association and the Florida Retail Federation met with the Department of Agriculture, Division of Food Safety, to discuss the new Food Safety Inspection Scoring System. We had a good meeting and we brought up some things that they have adjusted and corrected in this new process. To review all the questions and answers that were submitted to the Food Safety Officials click here.
Mark your calendar to attend the next meeting of FRF's Grocery Council. There will be a packed agenda with important items affecting all of us.
When: Thursday, March 19th; 9:00-Noon pm
Where: Publix Corporate Offices
3300 Publix Corporate Parkway
Lakeland, Florida 33811
Agenda items to include:
Looking forward to seeing you on March 19th!