Comments are pouring in to the U.S. Department of Labor at a rate of more than 500 per week in advance of a Sept. 4 deadline for employers and others to register their opinions on a rule that the Obama administration says could make 5 million more white-collar workers eligible for overtime pay if they work more than 40 hours in a week.
As of Aug. 12, the government had received 1,666 comments on the proposed rule to raise the overtime salary threshold for administrative, executive and professional employees to $50,440 per year in 2016, up from the current $23,660.
Comments from employers are overwhelmingly negative, and highlight potential for the rule to have unintended consequences. Many commenters worry that such a large threshold jump will lead to wholesale reclassification ofinto nonexempt hourly workers.
Others focus on problems related to the 24/7 nature of work today, in which exempt employees use home computers and smartphones to perform work away from the office. If those employees become hourly workers, their time spent checking email or working an additional hour or two from home must be meticulously tracked.
If your organization hasn’t already submitted comments, now is the time to do so. At the very least, take a look at the comments already received. They provide a good overview of employer concerns about the proposed rule.