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Group of House Democrats Pushes Back on DOL Overtime Rule

A number of moderate Democrats introduced a bill now pending in the U.S. House of Representatives that would amend parts of the Department of Labor's overtime rule.
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A number of moderate Democrats introduced a bill now pending in the U.S. House of Representatives that would amend portions of a Department of Labor (DOL) rule regarding overtime pay. The rule will impact many Big “I” agencies and their small business clients, and is currently set to take effect Dec. 1, 2016.

Last week, Rep. Kurt Schrader (D-Oregon) introduced H.R. 5813, the “Overtime Reform and Enhancement Act,” co-sponsored by Reps. Jim Cooper (D-Tennessee), Henry Cuellar (D-Texas), Collin Peterson (D-Minnesota) and Gwen Graham (D-Florida).

The DOL rule updates a regulation that exempts certain employees from overtime and minimum wage requirements, and requires that employers pay overtime to many employees who were not previously entitled to it. Among other things, the rule raises the minimum salary threshold to exempt employees from overtime and minimum wage requirements under the administrative, executive, professional or computer “white-collar” exemptions by 100%, from $23,660 to $47,476.

H.R. 5813 would delay implementation of the $47,476 salary threshold, replacing it with a $35,984 salary threshold beginning Dec. 1. The $47,476 salary threshold would phase in over a three-year period, with annual increases of about $3,800 effective  Dec. 1 2017, 2018 and 2019.

The new DOL rule also requires that the $47,476 salary threshold undergo automatic adjustments every three years, starting in 2020, when estimates expect it to reach $51,168. H.R. 5813 would eliminate these automatic increases to the salary threshold and require the DOL to go through the rulemaking process to update the salary threshold in the future. The bill recognizes that future administrations should update the overtime rules as the Fair Labor Standards Act requires, but it limits the DOL’s ability to update the rules on autopilot without stakeholder input.

The Big “I” is working with Partnership to Protect Workplace Opportunity, a coalition of various businesses and trade associations that the rule will negatively impact, on congressional outreach and advocacy efforts related to this legislation. The partnership will also address S. 2707 and H.R. 4773, the “Protecting Workplace Advancement and Opportunity Act,” by Sens. Tim Scott (R-South Carolina) and Lamar Alexander (R-Tennessee) and Reps. Tim Walberg (R-Michigan) and John Kline (R-Minnesota), along with other legislative efforts related to the rule.

Finally, the Big “I” also prepared member resources to help agencies better understand the implications of the DOL rule, including a Q&A document. Members must log in to view the document. 

Jennifer Webb is Big “I” federal government affairs counsel.