NATSO met with the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) May 4 to voice industry concerns regarding the Department of Labor’s (DOL) proposed Overtime Rule, which would greatly expand the universe of employees eligible for overtime pay.
Speaking on behalf of NATSO, Bobby Berkstresser, owner and operator of White’s Travel Plaza in Raphine, Va., highlighted that the proposed rule ignores salary differences in certain regions of the country, would negatively affect employees and ultimately cut away at his ability to operate a profitable business.
The Labor Department sent its final overtime rule to OMB in Mid-March and it could be released as early as this month. OMB’s review marks the final step before the final rule is published and represents the industry’s last opportunity to express concerns.
Berkstresser said that White’s Travel Plaza, located in rural Rockbridge County, Va., simply cannot absorb the added costs that this regulation would impose as easily as a business located in an urban area. He also provided examples of how converting employees from exempt to nonexempt status will lead to unintended consequences and ultimately harm the very employees that the Department is seeking to protect.
Berkstresser said he is committed to his employees, some of whom have worked for him for over 30 years, and in recent years he has absorbed the massive increases associated with their health care coverage.
Berkstresser currently provides flexibility and job growth opportunities to his employees, but said the proposed rule will force him to make significant adjustments to the structure of his business to compensate for the added costs that this new regulation will impose.
Berkstresser also objected to the proposed change in the duties test, explaining that the current regime accommodates the fact that upper level managerial staff occasionally perform non-exempt duties when necessary. Managers appreciate this flexibility, he said, because it allows them to conduct smooth and efficient operations.
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