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Business interests pan DOL rule doubling overtime salary threshold

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in Compensation and Benefits,Human Resources,Overtime Labor Laws

The Department of Labor’s May 18 announcement of final rules on white-collar overtime eligibility drew swift reaction.

The Obama administration and employee advocacy organizations sang the praises of the move to more than double the overtime salary threshold starting Dec. 1. Representatives of the business community were not nearly as enthusiastic.

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“The current salary level is so low that it does not effectively identify which white-collar workers are entitled to overtime protection. That is an economy out of balance. So we’re fixing it. We have more than doubled the salary threshold—lifting it from $23,660 to $47,476 per year. That means some 35% of full-time salaried workers, based on their pay, will now be eligible for overtime.”—Secretary of Labor Tom Perez

“The revised salary threshold governing the white collar overtime rules will restore vitality to the Fair Labor Standards Act’s guarantee of a 40-hour workweek, a protection that has steadily eroded since the late 1970s.”—Christine Owens, CEO, National Employment Law Project

“The administration claims that the changes were made as a result of listening to employers, but what they have done is more cosmetic than substantive .... The Chamber argued in our comments and meetings that the key to making this regulation acceptable was a modest increase in the salary threshold, not increasing it by more than 100% to almost $47,500.”—Randy Johnson, vice president, U.S. Chamber of Commerce  

“The Department of Labor missed a real opportunity in finalizing the overtime rule. Thousands of HR professionals expressed their concerns about the proposed rule. Although DOL responded to some of our comments, SHRM is disappointed in the dramatic increase in the salary under which employees are eligible for overtime and the automatic increases in the salary level.”—Henry G. (Hank) Jackson, CEO, Society for Human Resource Management

“These rules are a career killer. With the stroke of a pen, the Labor Department is demoting millions of workers. In the retail sector alone, hundreds of thousands of career professionals will lose their status as salaried employees and find themselves reclassified as hourly workers, depriving them of the workplace flexibility and other benefits they so highly-value.”—David French, vice president, National Retail Federation

“Workers are much more concerned with how much they’re getting paid than some perceived status.”—Seth Harris, former Deputy Secretary of Labor, Dentons law firm

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