Will Cause Employees to Lose Flexibility and Other Benefits
WASHINGTON, D.C.—The U.S. Chamber of Commerce today submitted comments blasting the Department of Labor’s (DOL) proposed changes to the regulations defining who qualifies for overtime.
“While DOL thinks that expanding the number of employees eligible for overtime will result in more income, it will likely lead to millions of employees being converted from salaried professionals to hourly wage earners. As a result, they will lose the flexibility and professional status they have earned and that have defined their jobs,” said Randy Johnson, the Chamber’s senior vice president for Labor, Immigration and Employee Benefits.
The proposed changes increase the salary threshold by 113%, to $50,440 larger than any previous increase. Employees paid less than this amount automatically qualify for overtime. Only individuals earning over this amount are subject to a duties test that creates "white collar" exemptions for executive, administrative, professional, or computer duties. DOL also proposed to increase this threshold annually, another very troubling provision.
“Putting this salary threshold on autopilot will deny employers the opportunity to comment on new levels, contrary to the intent of Congress, prior administrations’ practices, regulatory rulemaking requirements, and the president’s own Open Government Initiative,” added Johnson. “In addition, doing so will ensure that future increases will go into effect during economic downturns—a guaranteed disaster for employers down the road.”
“These proposed changes will force millions of employees back into the antiquated world of punching a clock—a far cry from the president’s direction to DOL to ‘modernize’ these regulations. The real modern workplace allows for many jobs to be done from various remote locations through technological advances, which promotes flexibility and professional opportunities,” Johnson continued. “This administration keeps talking about promoting workplace flexibility, and yet this proposed regulation will seriously undermine the opportunity for millions of employees to enjoy that very flexibility.”
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is the world’s largest business federation representing the interests of more than 3 million businesses of all sizes, sectors, and regions, as well as state and local chambers and industry associations.