PMAA joined others in supporting U.S. Senate legislation that would phase in a new overtime salary threshold over a five-year period, while saying at the same time that it continues to push for “full repeal of the overtime rule.”
PMAA says it signed a letter by the Partnership to Protect Workplace Opportunity (PPWO) to Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), supporting Lamar’s legislation, S. 3464, known as the “Overtime Reform and Review Act.”
The bill would prohibit an increase to the exempt salary threshold in 2017, giving employers an opportunity to adjust to the new level while the Government Accountability Office studies the impact of the rule in its first year of implementation, the Petroleum Marketers Association of America reports in its Oct. 14 PMAA Weekly Review.
“Although PMAA is vigorously pushing for a full repeal of the overtime rule, this legislation would help lessen the adverse impact of the new rules on businesses,” reports the weekly. “PMAA continues to push for a fix to the overtime rule and supports legislation that would do so. Regrettably, President Obama has threatened to veto legislation that would make changes to the rule, including changes to the December 1, 2016 implementation date. Therefore, we urge members to prepare for implementation of the rule as it is currently scheduled.”
The letter reads, in part:
“While a responsible increase to the salary threshold is due, the DOL’s drastic increase of more than 100 percent to the salary threshold is too much, too fast, and will have a disproportionate impact on a wide variety of industries, sectors, and geographic areas of the country. Equally problematic is that the final rule allows for the salary threshold to be automatically updated every three years, irrespective of economic conditions and without the input of impacted stakeholders. As a result, small and large businesses, nonprofits, local governments, and academic institutions have all made clear the severe problems the final overtime rule will have on their organizations, employees, students, and communities and clients served.
“Given the widespread challenges this regulation will impose on employers and their employees, the PPWO welcomes the introduction of S. 3464. This reasonable legislation would phase-in the DOL’s new salary threshold in four stages over five years, starting with a substantial salary threshold increase to approximately $36,000 on December 1, 2016, followed by a “pause year” in 2017 to allow employers to review and adjust for the consequences of this new rule. Further increases to the salary level would occur annually thereafter, until reaching the final rule’s new threshold of $47,476 on December 1, 2020. Equally important is that the bill prohibits the final rule’s automatic increases to the salary threshold, yet allows the DOL to propose changes to overtime regulations in the future through the customary notice and comment process.
“In addition, S. 3464 recognizes the impact the new regulation will have on the most vulnerable employers. The bill specifies that increases after 2016 will not go into effect for nonprofits, colleges and universities, Medicare and Medicaid dependent health care providers, and state and local governments unless the Administration can certify that the 2016 increase did not negatively impact these organizations.
“The PPWO strongly supports the comprehensive approach this bill takes in blocking the worst impacts of the overtime regulation from taking effect. We look forward to working with you and other congressional leaders to promptly advance this legislation and prevent the significant negative impact this final overtime rule will have on both employers and employees.”
The Partnership to Protect Workplace Opportunity (PPWO) describes itself on its website as a group of associations, businesses, and other stakeholders representing employers with millions of employees across the country in almost every industry. The Partnership advocates for the interests of its members in the regulatory debate on changes to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) overtime regulations. The Partnership says its members support maximum flexibility in structuring employee hours, career advancement opportunities for employees, and clarity for employers when classifying employees. The Partnership was formed in 2014 in response to President Barack Obama’s directive to the Department of Labor to “update and modernize” the Section 541 FLSA overtime regulations. The Partnership responded to the proposed changes to the overtime regulations with an analysis based on the principle that any changes need to work for both employers and employees.
“We are deeply disappointed that the Labor Department largely ignored the concerns of tens of thousands of individuals and organizations across this country that expressed concern with the proposal issuing a final rule that will do serious damage to people’s careers and workplace flexibility, new job opportunities and essential community services,” the Partnership says on its website. “We will continue to advocate for a regulation that is considerate of all stakeholder and economic realities facing employers and employees across the country.”