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PUBLIC POLICY BRIEF


Building relationships on Capitol Hill and statehouses across the nation benefits older adults and their families


BY SHARON COHEN


Argentum Advocates for You B


oth state and federal legisla- tive and regulatory activ- ity impact the senior living industry, and a top priority of


Argentum is to ensure meaningful and appropriate rules governing association members and the residents and families they serve. Recently, Argentum offered com- ments on two pressing federal issues affecting the industry stemming from separate proposals out of the U.S. Department of Labor and the Veter- ans Benefits Administration.


Overtime Exemptions


Te Labor Department is proposing drastic changes to its “white col- lar” overtime exemptions in the Fair Labor Standards Act. Argentum filed comments on behalf of the senior living industry (view at www.argen- tum.org). Te association believes that the proposed drastic increase in the minimum salary of exempt staff, if allowed to become final, would be harmful to employers, many of their currently exempt employees, and to the senior living industry as a whole. By requiring the reclassification of a large number of exempt executives, administrators, and professionals, among others, the proposal would: • Restrict the flexibility needed to provide high-quality service and care to senior living residents; • Hurt career advancement oppor-


i


“Under the newly proposed, drastically increased salary level, many employees in senior living facilities who should be consid- ered exempt will no longer be able to qualify for


exempt status, regardless of their job duties.” —Argentum comments on the proposed rule


tunities for employees;


• Injure the morale of reclassified exempt workers;


• Spur lawsuits; and • Raise administrative costs to senior living operations with little or no benefit to employees. Te centerpiece of the Labor


Department’s new proposal is its increase in the minimum salary for exempt white collar employees to more than $50,000 should the rule take effect in 2016. “Tis is an unprec- edentedly high level for exempt status under the white collar exemptions, even when earlier wage minimums dating back more than 75 years under the FLSA are adjusted for inflation,” read the comments. “Under the newly proposed, drastically increased salary level, many employees in senior living facilities who should be considered exempt will no longer be able to


Get involved with your state partners Visit www.argentum.org/affiliates for membership details and contact information.


36 SENIOR LIVING EXECUTIVE | NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2015 | WWW. ARGENTUM.ORG


qualify for exempt status, regardless of their job duties.”


Veterans Reporting Requirements


Argentum sent a letter to the Veterans Benefits Administration regarding pro- posed annual reporting requirements for veterans and surviving spouses who receive non-service connected pensions, expressing concern that the new requirements could be “excessive.” Argentum members currently serve thousands of veterans and their spouses who live in senior living communities. It is Argentum’s understanding that


the VA’s reasoning for discontinuing in December 2012 the use of the past Annual Eligibility Verification Report was that technological improvements, including expansion of data-match- ing requirements with the Internal Revenue Service and Social Security Administration, will allow the VA to verify a pension applicant’s income before awarding benefits. Argentum asked that the VA consider the costs and benefits of suspending the annual verification process and its impact


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