New regulations for overtime pay proposed by President Obama could mean bigger paychecks for 5 million workers nationwide, according to Department of Labor officials. But business groups say that requiring more overtime pay could hurt companies’ bottom lines.

Currently, companies do not have to pay time-and-a-half overtime to certain salaried workers who make more than $23,660. The proposed change would raise the threshold to $50,440, effectively bringing the wage cutoff to the middle-class level that it was back in 1975. Thereafter the threshold would increase every year along with inflation.

“There is going to be a significant impact on New Jersey employers,” said Amy Vazquez, a researcher for the New Jersey Employers Association. “It’s going to put a strain on businesses because now they will have to pay this extra overtime for employees who are essentially doing the same work.”

Who is and is not eligible for overtime pay under the Fair Labor Standards Act is a confusing issue for workers and employers alike. In order to be exempt from overtime, an employee must be salaried, (meaning their pay does not change no matter how many hours they work) perform job duties that the law mandates as being exempt from overtime, and make more than the income threshold that is now being adjusted.

A large range of jobs are exempt from overtime, including farm workers, computer professionals, creative workers, commissioned sales workers, aircraft mechanics, executives, administrative employees, babysitters, small town newspaper reporters, and others.

Last year Obama directed the secretary of labor to revise overtime regulations, so the fact that changes are coming is no surprise. However, Vazquez said observers were surprised that Obama’s proposed changes, first hinted at last year, only affected the salary level and none of the other requirements. “We were a bit underwhelmed,” Vazquez said. “We would have thought that after a whole year we would have seen significant changes especially in the duties test, which is often hard to interpret. A lot of employers struggle with that. It’s very hard to tell whether someone would be exempt or non-exempt based on the nature of the work itself.”

The EANJ will hold a webinar on Wednesday, July 22, at 10 a.m. to explain the changes. $55, $95 for non-members. For more information, visit www.eanj.org.

#b#Judge Rules Hospital Isn’t a Nonprofit#/b#

In a ruling that could have implications for Princeton University’s tax case, a tax court judge has ruled that Morristown Medical Center must pay property taxes on most of its 40-acre property because of its commercial activities.

Judge Vito Bianco, who made the ruling, is the same judge who is hearing the case of Princeton residents who are suing the university, saying it should pay property taxes because of its commercial licensing of technology to companies.

In the Morristown case, Bianco ruled that the hospital had to pay about $3 million in local property taxes despite its federal tax status as a nonprofit. The ruling seemed to implicate other hospitals throughout the state, which do business in a similar manner.

“If the property tax exemption for modern non-profit hospitals is to exist at all in New Jersey going forward, then it is a function of the legislature and not the court to promulgate what the terms and conditions will be,” Bianco wrote “Clearly, the operation and function of modern non-profit hospitals do not meet the current criteria for property tax exemption under . . . applicable case law.”

Bianco said the hospital’s many business ties to for-profit subsidiaries and other companies meant that it was functionally a for-profit company despite providing medical care to anyone, regardless of ability to pay. He said the hospital had failed to separate its for-profit from nonprofit activities and that it therefore had to pay its fair share of taxes.

The ruling also mentioned the high salaries for doctors and executives running the hospital, singling out the $5 million made by CEO Joseph Trufino.

The ruling gives a glimpse of the judge’s mindset regarding nonprofits, but there are some differences between the Morristown case and the Princeton University case. The Morristown case, for example, was brought by the township, whereas the town of Princeton has not taken a side in the university lawsuit.

#b#Integra Buys TEI#/b#

Integra LifeSciences Holdings Corporation, headquartered on Morgan Lane, is buying TEI Biosciences Inc. and TEI Medical, of Waltham, Massachusetts, for $312 million

TEI Biosciences is a biomedical company that makes a wide range of medical devices. TEI medical is its spinoff company that makes SurgiMend, biologic matrix made from fetal cow tissue.

In a statement, Integra said acquiring TEI would position the company as a leader in the regenerative wound care and tissue repair business. It already owns PriMatrix Dermal Repair Sacaffold, a product in the same field.

“This acquisition broadens our presence in regenerative wound care and tissue repair and represents a significant push forward toward our growth objectives for 2015 and beyond,” said Integra CEO Peter Arduini. “The addition of TEI is an important, strategic next step for both our channel and international expansion priorities. We are enthusiastic about both TEI’s product development and commercial expertise, which accelerates our ability to establish an immediate presence in the diabetic foot ulcer space.”

Integra LifeSciences Corporation (IART), 105 Morgan Lane, Enterprise Business Center, Plainsboro 08536; 609-275-2700.

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