Association Agenda: Expanding Overtime
Labor Department continues push to broaden overtime rule.
by all indications, the Department of Labor is progressing steadily toward an expansion of overtime eligibility that is likely to affect associations and other employers in every state.
In March, DOL sent its highly anticipated proposed rule to the White House’s Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, signaling that it’s likely to issue a final rule soon—perhaps as early as this summer. The proposed rule would require businesses to pay overtime wages to employees making $50,440 or less per year—a 113 percent increase over the current threshold.
More than 250,000 organizations, including ASAE, submitted comments on the proposed rule to DOL last year. ASAE believes that it would adversely affect many nonprofit organizations and other employers with limited revenues as well as the affected employees. ASAE said the $50,440 salary threshold amounts to a “one-size-fits-all” measuring stick and that the minimum salary level for exempt employees should instead be keyed to government data on regional cost-of-living differences.
Because the rule would dramatically expand the number of employees now eligible for overtime pay, associations and other employers could be forced to lay off staff or limit employees’ work outside of core business hours, stinting employees’ career growth and harming productivity.
DOL is also hinting at changes to the “duties test,” meaning exempt employees could be required to spend a specified amount of time performing their primary duty. Many associations are small-staff organizations that require their employees to perform a multitude of roles to carry out day-to-day operations and fulfill the mission. Changes to the duties test would conflict with many associations’ operational structures.
Congressional opposition to expanded overtime eligibility and efforts to include defunding language in the appropriations process would prohibit DOL from implementing the new rule if the agency issues it without changes. ASAE and many other groups would support Congress ushering that rider language through both the House and Senate.