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Increasing pay: How federal and state changes could affect you

From a federal update to the threshold for salaried workers to a local Flagstaff proposal to raise the minimum hourly rate, there has been a lot of discussion about livable wages this year. Could you be in line for a pay raise?

If you earn a yearly salary of less than $47,476 ($913/week) and routinely work overtime, expect some change in December. Arizona and 20 other states have challenged the overtime rule, but it is still slated to go into effect on December 1, 2016.

Why the federal change?

The salary threshold was last updated in 2004 and hadn't kept up with inflation. The data behind the update came from census wage data. The decision was to use the 40th percentile of full-time earnings for a worker in the lowest wage region (the South).

To classify a position exempt or salaried in the first place, the functions must be professional, executive or managerial. The new salary floor will likely affect those in retail and fast food management. Professionals such as accountants or human resources administrators may also be affected.

Employers have a variety of options from paying overtime to changing the classification of the position to hourly. If a position changes to hourly, you have the right to meal and rest breaks. There must also be a system to track hours.

Wages around the state

Not far away, Flagstaff voters will decide whether to increase the minimum hourly wage. The current minimum hourly is the state minimum of $8.05 (higher than the federal minimum that has remained $7.25 since 2009).

One proposal would increase the minimum wage to $15 per hour over a number of years. The interplay between the local ordinance and federal overtime law would mean that a worker making the adjusted minimum ($15 per hour or $31,300 per year) would still be eligible to earn overtime. Cost of living has been cited to support the measure.

What if your employer refuses to do anything about the new overtime law or a potential change in local ordinance? Speak with an employment law attorney to learn your rights.

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