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This confusion and fear (?) has probably accompanied every employment ruling that has come down from on high in the past. Somehow we will get through it. How many times has the government ruled something without giving enough detail on how to interpret? Lots of times. ACA is the most recent example but there have been others.

This is just example of why transparency scares me --- not just how to explain government rulings but just about everything. It's complicated ---and not that our employees are "dummies" but it is hard to explain compensation. Plus many employees are so suspicious now and upset about executive pay. Again I don't mean it can't be done --- but I worry about the outcome. Looks like we all need "compensation communication" training. Maybe a few of you can help??

Excellent points, Jacque. The more government requires us to communicate, the more "transparent" things should be. Biggest problem now seems to be that we don't know enough to deliver an accurate message! Once we have full and complete information, then we can turn to the communication experts for help.

I wonder if it will be permissible to include a short paragraph on an offer letter that explains which exemption test(s) was/were passed, with boilerplate language, or if each explanation will have to be crafted to the specific job. Imagine having to list three or four bullet points from the job description for each and every job on each and every offer letter that demonstrate the use of independent judgement and discretion in the performance of the assigned duties. It's hard to inmagine something more inefficient and time-consuming. It's almost as if the intent is to cause mistakes resulting in more penalties and more roles being deemed Non-Exempt.

Some years ago, I worked at an organization that gated stock option eligibility at a base salary of $50k.

It should come as no surprise to any regular reader of this blog that there were no employees of this enterprise whose base salaries were between $44.96K and $49.99K.

SCM: A summary statement sounds sensible as a theoretical approach, but the issue always comes from what the employee actually DOES in the position rather than what the document intends before hire. Government types probably would not be displeased if your speculation about their intent came true. If that happened, they would benefit from more penalty income and could brag about enriching the working class with more overtime.

Tony: Good point. The biggest fights over classifications always occur at the tightest margins. When there is a big gap between an individual's location and the break-point boundary, no one gets very excited. When a tiny difference has big money implications, WATCH OUT!

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