WASHINGTON D.C. — A group of associations that represent various public sector employers penned a letter to Congress asking that it move to scale back the Department of Labor’s highly-anticipated final rule on overtime that would make millions of additional employees eligible for overtime under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The letter had 20 signatories, including the National Association of Counties, and National Public Employer Labor Relations Association, and the American Council on Education, which represented state and local governments, public schools, public institutions of higher education, and other public sector entities.
Public Sector Concerns on Overtime Rule
The signatories indicated that the proposed overtime rule, which would increase the salary levels required to qualify for the so-called white collar exemptions from $455 per week to $970 per week, goes too far and would have adverse consequences on public sector employers, many of which are still recovering from the last recession. The letter proposes that any increase should be done gradually over many years to ensure a smooth transition and mitigate budgetary impacts. According to the letter, the increased costs brought by the overtime rule would require either an increase in taxes, a reduction in public services and employee benefits, or both. It may also result in staff layoffs or furloughs and the reduction or elimination of programs and services.
Impact on Employees
The associations indicated in their letter that the new minimum salary and annual increases will result in the reclassification of as many as 10 million employees from exempt to non-exempt. These employees will be negatively impacted by reclassification, according to the letter, because employers need to closely track work hours for nonexempt employees in order to ensure compliance with overtime pay and other requirements. Therefore, reclassified workers will end up with less autonomy and fewer opportunities for employer-sponsored training and development opportunities. It will also result in the reduction in employee opportunities for flexible work arrangements and telework.
However, DOL stated approximately 85% of white collar salaried workers who fail the test for the white-collar exemption earn at least $455 per week. Because the current salary levels for the exemption is only screening approximately 15% of overtime-eligible white collar salaried employees, it is not an effective test. Increasing the standard salary level to the 40th percentile of weekly earnings for full-time salaried workers would reduce the number of white collar employees who do not meet the duties test but earn at least the proposed salary level to approximately 41%.
Until DOL issues its final regulation, the current rules are still in effect with the current salary thresholds. If you or someone you know is not being paid overtime as required by FLSA regulations, you should call (855) 754-2795 or complete the Free Unpaid Overtime Case Review form on the top right of this page. Our top-rated team of wage lawyers will evaluate your situation to determine your best course of action. We will also determine if it is in your best interest to file a lawsuit against your employer. There are strict time limitations for filing, so it is important that you call our experienced attorneys today.