House Passes Bill Delaying Overtime Rule; Unlikely to Become Law

In a move that some consider to be a "political vote" rather than a substantive one, the U.S. House of Representatives on September 28 passed legislation that would delay for six months a new Department of Labor Rule revising the standards overtime pay eligibility. The rule is scheduled to take effect on December 1, 2016.  Under this legislation, it would not take effect until June 1, 2016.  The bill is highly unlikely to become law, and represents a political vote to enable House members to campaign on the issue during the home stretch of election season.
 
The new Overtime Rule would double the salary threshold above which employees are exempt from overtime (to $47,466, or $913/week, up from $23,660, or $455/week). 
 
NATSO has been working closely with lawmakers and other employer groups advocating for legislation introduced by Rep. Kurt Schrader (D-OR) that would gradually phase-in this threshold increase over a period of three years. The Schrader bill represents a compromise from initial pieces of legislation that would have nullified the new overtime rule; such legislation ultimately stood little chance of being enacted.
 
"To be honest, my preference would have been that the House attempt to pass the Schrader bill instead of the 6-month delay," said David Fialkov, NATSO's Vice President of Government Affairs. "The Schrader bill would have generated more Democratic support, whereas the delay bill was viewed by most Democrats as a not-so-subtle effort to repeal the new overtime rule in the event a Republican is in the White House next year. That's why so few Democrats voted for it, and ultimately why it's unlikely to be enacted." Only five Democrats voted for the six-month delay bill.
 
Going forward, NATSO plans to continue pushing to have a "policy rider" attached to year-end legislation that would fund the government into 2017.  Although it is unclear what this policy rider would look like (either the Schrader phase-in approach or the six-month delay), it will be a difficult task to undercut the new overtime rule given President Obama's threat to veto such measures.  It remains an outside possibility that the President would sign a large, comprehensive spending package even if it somewhat undercuts the overtime rule, however.
 
NATSO has prepared members-only New Overtime Regulations: Summary And compliance guide For Truckstops And Travel Plazas that would assist truckstop and travel plaza operators' efforts to come into compliance with the new overtime rules.  "Although we will continue pushing for legislation on this front, my advice to members is to prepare for the new rules to take effect on December 1, 2016," Fialkov said.

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