Progressive Grocer Independent

JUN 2016

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June 2016 | Defining the Independent Market | 21 labor ranked in the top fve concerns, coming in at No. 5 with nearly 32 percent, an increase from 29 percent last year.) Te minimum wage is only a portion of the concern over wages. Te U.S. Department of Labor has released its fnal ruling on overtime pay, which includes an increase on the exemption from $23,660 to $47,476, efective Dec. 1, 2016. Te government expects the new rule will extend overtime protections to 4.2 million more workers who are currently ineligible for overtime. Tis rise will capture many supermarket employees who are currently classi- fed as exempt. "Raising the salary threshold will create unintended negative conse- quences, such as reducing a man- ager's fexibility to decide when extra hours are needed to complete the job, and advancement opportunities," Larkin notes. Health Care Concerns Te issue of benefts also hangs over independents, many of which are still adjusting to the Afordable Care Act (ACA). Some portions of the ACA have been extremely burdensome for indies, such as the tracking and reporting requirements of the new law. "Many NGA members saw their health care costs increase dramati- cally, while some have had a difcult time fnding coverage," Larkin says. FMI's 2015 assessment of the top worries among supermarket executives also found that health care costs were a big concern, with many expecting health care to have a signifcant impact on their bottom line in 2016, accord- ing to Sarasin. In a related move, "our members are paying closer attention to employee and community wellness initiatives," she adds. Tese initiatives include pro- grams like Andronico's Community Market's FitMarket, a healthy-living program available in its fve Bay Area stores. Te program provides health coaching as well as nutrition and ftness guidance from experts in an efort to "bring health back," accord- ing to CEO Suzy Monford. "Independents are resilient, and know their local marketplaces and shoppers better than their chain competition, and can act/ react faster to changing market conditions." —Dave Bennett, IGA The World Standard For Destratification

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