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News & Press: Public Policy: 40-Hour Work Week

Public Policy Alert: New Department Of Labor Overtime Rules Announced

Tuesday, May 24, 2016   (0 Comments)
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On May 18, 2016 the US Department of Labor released its new rules on the salary threshold for overtime pay.  DEMA is disappointed with the new rules which have been established without congressional vote and which more than double the salary threshold below which workers will be eligible for overtime from its current $455 per week ($23,660 per year) to $913 per week ($47,476 per year).  The rule goes into effect on December 1.
 
While DEMA supports the principle of modernizing and streamlining the Fair Labor Standards Act, including the overtime rules, DEMA's written public comments, filed last September, expressed our concerns that this rule, as proposed and as now enacted, is too much, too quickly, and will create the necessity for many workers in every sector of the diving industry to be re-classified as hourly, increasing costs and thus making it difficult to allow these individuals to attend educational and technical conferences which are critical to maintaining their expertise and their positions with an employer. Further, DEMA's comments pointed out that these rules may cause employers to consider reducing their work forces, and they do nothing to help employers and employees account for the way people work today; the rules actually discourage the concept of working remotely; they favor elimination of mid-level management and entry-level administrative positions, and they make it more difficult for lower-level employees to climb the professional employment ladder.  The rules attempt to create a one-size-fits-all framework in a modern work environment that otherwise rewards flexibility.
 
In March, DEMA Executive Director Tom Ingram met at the Washington, DC offices of the following California legislators, bringing our concerns to them and asking for their assistance:
  • Congressman Ami Bera
  • Senator Barbara Boxer
  • Congresswoman Judy Chu
  • Senator Dianne Feinstein
  • Congressman Devin Nunes
  • Congressman Scott Peters
  • Congressman Mike Thompson
 
Support was forthcoming from some of these members of Congress, while others were in favor of the new rules as proposed.  To date the Department of Labor rules have yet to be scrutinized by the full Congress, and are subject to a 60-legislative day provision in the Congressional Review Act.  Once a new rule such as this is made final, the Congressional Review Act gives Congress 60 legislative days to vote to overturn the rule with a simple majority. In the next few days, DEMA will ask all members of the Industry to reach out to their own federal legislators and express opinions and concerns regarding how this new rule will impact their own businesses.  Please look for the Industry Alert early during the week of May 23.
 
In addition, DEMA plans to conduct seminars on the rule at DEMA Show 2016 in Las Vegas to assist industry businesses in their implementation of the requirements of the new Department of Labor rules.  Attend DEMA Show and these free seminars to learn about the rules and how to protect your company from lawsuits, increased labor costs and other disruptions.

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