The new regulations with salaried employees pertain to whether or not they will get paid for over time. Effective December 1 of 2016 salaried employees earning under $47,476 ($913 weekly) according to the federal government are entitled to overtime pay similar to hourly paid employees. Also new regulations about incentives are now in place, now bonus incentives can account for up to 10% of the new standard salary level. Another key update to note is the rule automatically updates the standard salary level every three years starting January 2020.
An update coming in the new year are new refrigeration energy standards. This affects manufacturers, whom must start to change energy consumption reduction rates, which will be set by March 27, 2017 and must fully comply by January 2020. General reduction rates are currently available and could be costly for those who wait too long to comply. Currently there is a call for a 30%-50% reduction on refrigerators, a 5% reduction in energy consumption for ice makers, and a 20%-40% reduction for walk-in freezers/refrigerators. Another energy related trend to follow is the phasing out of CFC and HFC refrigerants by 2019. These chemicals are going to be replaced with the newly legalized chemicals isobutene, hydrocarbons propane, and a chemical called HCR 188c.
2017 will also bring in a new federal menu label. As I am sure many restaurant franchise owners are aware, any food business with more than 20 locations must have a menu with nutrition facts and must also have additional information of the product upon request. Restaurant owners have until May 5 2017 to comply. This federal mandate is a result of Obama's health care law signed back in 2010.
Another change we can all expect to see is the widespread transition to chip credit cards similar to the European method used in 80 other countries. While the chips initial entrance into the market has had mixed reviews the EMV (Europay, Mastercard, Visa) does have its benefits. First switching from magnetic strip technology to the chip has incredible security benefits. What the chip does is it encrypts and makes every purchase new and unique; meaning stealing the purchase information for fraudulent purposes is useless because that information cannot be reused for other purchases. Also on the off chance that your card is stolen, all card fraud liability falls on the credit card company least compliant.
Starting January 1, 2017 Philadelphia will follow Berkeley, California’s example and become the second city to enact a soda tax. The tax will be added on top of a current 8% tax for the drink. The new tax will be added by the ounce, specifically 1.5 cents per ounce. This raises the price for a single can up by 18 cents, $1.08 increase for a 6 pack, and $1.02 for a 2 liter bottle. This new tax is expected to bring in an additional $91 million in revenue. The money will be used to fund pre-k schools, community schools, and reinvest money into parks and recreation programs.
Lastly, Governor Tom Wolf signed the biggest alcohol reform bill in 80 years. The new bill anticipates 150 million in tax revenue. The changes are all steps towards privatization of the alcohol industry. The new bill allows wine to be sold in grocery stores, as well as being legal to get wine mailed to you. Also, drink service at casinos is legal 24/7. Finally, state stores will be open longer into the evening and they will also be open on the Sundays.
So, the coming year we will be seeing a lot of new changes to the food industry; from how people pay, to the refrigerants used by restaurants. Some of the largest changes we will see will come from the alcohol industry. Many are considering these changes to be the beginning of the end for the state run industry and the long awaited private switch is quickly approaching.