NATSO urged the Department of Labor (DOL) to finalize its proposed rule that updates the standard for overtime pay eligibility under the Fair Labor Standards Act. Notably, the proposed rule includes many of the recommendations that NATSO offered during a 2017 DOL Request for Information and the 2014 Obama Administration rulemaking on overtime pay.
The Trump Administration is reexamining the rules governing overtime pay in the wake of the Obama Administration’s effort being struck down by a federal court. The Obama Administration sought to increase the minimum salary required for overtime-exempt employees to $47,476 annually from $23,660. A federal judge in November 2016 issued a nationwide injunction against the DOL’s regulation; the same judge struck down the rule in August 2017.
The DOL proposed rule would increase the minimum salary required for overtime-exempt employees to $679 per week or approximately $35,308 each year, a proposal that NATSO supports. In its May 21 comments, NATSO argued that significant changes to the salary threshold and duties test would harm the very employees that they are designed to help. NATSO further commended the agency for its decision to maintain the duties test used to determine whether an employee holds an exempt or non-exempt status and preserve a single salary level for the country. NATSO also appreciates the agency’s decision to review the salary threshold on a regular basis, rather than automatically update it.
NATSO thinks unduly aggressive changes, like those offered by the previous administration in 2014, ultimately harm businesses and employees by negatively altering hours worked and benefits as well as disrupting some of the most fundamental attributes of running a successful, efficient truckstop.
In anticipation of the Obama Administration’s rule, for example, most general managers of quick-service restaurants located in truckstops, as well as some managers of convenience stores operated by truckstops who were previously exempt and paid on a salary basis, were converted to hourly to enable employers to more closely track and monitor employee hours. Such transitions often lead to a loss of morale for both line employees and managers. Employees mistakenly view the change as a demotion and managers appear to be at the same organizational hierarchy as the employees they manage.
The current duties test accommodates a work environment where managers frequently must step in to help their employees to ensure that operations run smoothly, such as stocking shelves or running a cash register in addition to their primary duties as managers.
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