On May 11, PPWO and 93 organizations sent a letter to Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh urging him to abandon or at least postpone issuance of the Department of Labor’s announced proposed rulemaking altering the overtime regulations under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).
Over the past two months, the employer community has warned DOL during its listening sessions that “the economy today cannot support changes to the white-collar exemptions under the FLSA.” “Due to significant concerns with supply chain disruptions, workforce shortages, inflationary pressures, and the shifting dynamics of the American workforce following the COVID-19 pandemic, any rule change now would be ill-advised. Importantly, DOL last updated the overtime regulations only three years ago, which strongly suggests there is no need for urgency in issuing more changes.”
PPWO called on DOL to abandon or at least postpone issuance of its announced NPRM “until the current economic situation stabilizes and improves to allow the American workforce, employer community, and DOL itself to more fully understand how the pandemic has shifted the paradigm of work in America.”
On January 25, 110 employer organizations sent a letter to Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh urging the Department of Labor (DOL) to hold stakeholder meetings prior to the development and issuance of its anticipated proposed rulemaking on the “white collar” exemptions to the overtime regulations under the Fair Labor Standards Act.
In the letter the organizations explain, “This will be a significant rulemaking with respect to cost, difficulty in implementation and impact on the workforce, particularly given the current acute labor shortages. Our organizations urge DOL to follow past precedents and hold meetings with the regulated community to obtain input on the potential impact of any changes to the overtime exemption requirements.”
DOL would benefit from stakeholder input on the current economic situation and the potential impact new overtime regulations could have on the workforce and economy. Past administrations have held such meetings, and the employer organizations strongly urge the Biden DOL to follow suit. Given the vast increases in remote work and concerns around historic increases in inflation, it is particularly important for DOL to gather input before issuing a proposed regulation.
On December 10, the Department of Labor announced it is planning to issue a new overtime regulation to raise the minimum salary threshold under which all employees must be paid overtime. DOL has not publicized a specific figure yet. We also believe the administration is considering altering the duties test, or the test used to determine if a worker’s specific job responsibilities make them ineligible for overtime pay.
The overtime regulations under the Fair Labor Standards Act have been updated several times over the last few years. The Obama administration wanted to raise the salary threshold to over $50,000 per year, an increase of over 100%. They were forced to lower the figure to $47,476 in their final rule, but this figure still put the economy and workers’ wellbeing in jeopardy. While the Trump administration was able to right the ship and bring the threshold down to a more reasonable $35,568 per year, we expect the Biden administration to “go big” in their proposal.
PPWO will file comments on the upcoming proposal to ensure reasonable, responsible regulations are put in place.
On March 25, 2021, a small group of Democrats in Congress called on the Biden administration to increase the minimum salary threshold, under which employees must be paid overtime, to at least $82,732 by 2026. This would be an increase of over 100% over the current level of just over $35,000. This increase would have devastating consequences for the economy, especially given the current economic environment caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
PPWO strongly urges the Biden administration to reject this unreasonable and dangerous recommendation.
On May 21st, the Partnership to Protect Workplace Opportunity submitted comments to the U.S. Department of Labor responding to the proposed rulemaking that was issued on March 22, 2019.
On September 25, the Partnership to Protect Workplace Opportunity submitted comments to the Department of Labor responding to the Request for Information that was published in the federal register on July 26, 2017.
On June 16th, the Partnership to Protect Workplace Opportunity sent a letter to Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta congratulating him on his recent confirmation as well as reiterating concern with the salary threshold update.
On September 28th, the Partnership to Protect Workplace Opportunity sent a letter of support of H.R. 6094, the “Regulatory Relief for Small Businesses, Schools, and Nonprofits Act” to the U.S. House of Representatives. This bill would provide a six-month delay in the implementation date of the overtime regulation, establishing the new effective date as June 1, 2017 and such a delay would be helpful as employers attempt to comply with the new regulation and absorb its impact.