Here are this week’s links to a few good stories we found and selected. We feel they might add valuable insights and perspectives for small to midsize businesses.

In a blog post from June, we spoke about the Department of Labor’s (DOL) final overtime rule, which was scheduled to be implemented on December 1, 2016.

Upon enactment, the threshold for employees exempt from overtime pay would increase from $23,660 to $47,476. Representative Kurt Schrader (D-OR) has introduced a bill that would call for a gradual increase that would start on December 1, 2016 and eventually meet the DOL recommended threshold three years later.

In Overtime Pay Reform Bill Seeks Three-Year Phase-in of New Rules, Rep. Schrader states “Without sufficient time to plan for the increase, cuts and demotions will become inevitable, and workers will actually end up making less than they were before.” President Obama supports the DOL position.

In May, Rep. Tim Walberg (R-WI) and Rep. John Kline (R-MN) introduced a bill to make the current proposed rules null and void. The American Bankers Association (ABA) supports the Schrader bill and offered this observation, which we mentioned in our earlier post:

“This drastic increase will present significant challenges for our members that provide banking services in lower cost-of-living areas of the country, particularly in community banks.”

We cited the difference in salaries in Massachusetts and Mississippi, which reflects the dilemma articulated by the ABA. Whether or not this bill gets traction remains to be seen, but since it has been proposed by a House Democrat and is seen as a mild rebuke of the DOL and by extension, the president, it will be interesting to see if enough bipartisan support can be generated—which would ultimately modify the rule. Stay tuned…

The clock is ticking for the Massachusetts legislature, as this year’s session will wind to a close on July 31.

Until then, the House and Senate may elect to challenge many of Governor Baker’s line item vetoes. And to complicate matters, both branches are taking a fair amount of time off as they devote time and energy to their party’s national conventions. It would appear that some significant legislation may be left on the sidelines for this year. Non-compete agreements have been a long standing issue for employers and employees alike, and if passed, this legislation would have significant impact on both. While both the House (which is employer favorable) and Senate (which is employee favorable) passed their own versions of the bill, they appear to be miles apart, which makes it a real challenge for a conference committee to craft a bill that is acceptable to both sides. Mark Whitney shares the details in View Point: Non-compete reform’s potential impact on Massachusetts employers. From here, it seems like a compromise is unlikely, but in Massachusetts politics, all things are possible.

Many years ago, an applicant for an opening we had gave his former boss as a reference.

This seemed perfect, since I knew his former boss well and respected him very much. The applicant promised a glowing reference. When I made the call, the support was, shall we say, less than glowing. In fact, it was downright awful. So before I read Should You Hire Someone With a Bad Reference? I thought I knew the answer. Actually, my experience was pretty straightforward, but Siegel offers some really good advice on how to handle situations that are not so clear-cut. Yes, there are some good applicants out there, and most workers lose their job at least once in the professional life. Having an open mind and employing advice such as is offered in this article is indeed prudent.