DEMA Submits Comments Opposing US Department of Labor’s Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to Amend FLSA
Monday, September 14, 2015
Posted by: Rachelle Reimers
The Diving Equipment and Marketing Association (DEMA) recently submitted comments opposing certain aspects of the U.S. Department of Labor’s July 6, 2015 Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) to amend the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) regulations implementing the exemption from minimum wage and overtime pay for executive, administrative, professional, outside sales, and computer employees (known as the “white collar” or “EAP” exemptions). The comments were submitted by Tom Ingram, Executive Director of DEMA, on behalf of the Association.
DEMA supports the principle in President Obama’s March 13, 2014 Presidential Memorandum that the FLSA regulations need to be modernized and streamlined. However, DEMA has heard from numerous members expressing serious concerns about the significant impact of the changes proposed in the NPRM. It is DEMA’s belief that changing the FLSA by merely altering the definition of the exempt employee salary threshold seems to be inadequate to meet the President’s goal of “modernizing and streamlining” the law and the diving industry, both business and workers, may suffer greatly.
“It is our fear that should these changes in the NPRM be enacted as written, the changes would have a devastating effect on our Industry. In order to control overall labor costs, we see a number of strategies being implemented by industry business that could ultimately result in industry employees experiencing a reduction in compensation, work hours, benefits, ability to attend educational and technical conferences, and so on,” commented Ingram. “In an industry where labor is amongst the highest costs, and our consumers require such personal attention, we fear that this will ultimately lead to increased prices for our customers and in turn, reduced demand as price-sensitive consumers move to other recreational activities that are less labor-intensive and consequently less expensive,” Ingram concluded.
Some of DEMA’s suggestions for updating and modernizing the FLSA include regional/state salary thresholds, a lower exempt threshold, and greater flexibility for non-exempt employees.
For more information, see all of the comments posted on the regulations.gov website and the official comments submitted by DEMA. DEMA will continue to monitor the progress of these rules and is prepared to comment further