Even Best Employers Face Challenges with FLSA, SHRM Tells House Subcommittee

Any changes to FLSA should meet the needs of both workers and employers and allow workplace flexibility

Jul 23, 2014

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) needs to meet the needs of today’s workplace and ensure workplace flexibility, the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) said today in testimony before the Workforce Protections Subcommittee of the U.S. House Committee on Education and the Workforce.

Appearing at the “Improving the Federal Wage and Hour Regulatory Structure” subcommittee hearing, human resource professional Nancy McKeague told representatives that most employers face challenges in ensuring that they are compliant with FLSA. “Additional guidance would certainly be helpful for HR professionals given the practical challenges most employers face with FLSA compliance,” she said.

McKeague, who spoke on behalf of the 275,000-member SHRM, shared her experiences with the FLSA as senior vice president, employer and community strategies, and chief human resources officer at the Michigan Health & Hospital Association (MHA), an award-winning workplace near Lansing, Mich.

Classifying employees as exempt or nonexempt is challenging for employers because it is partly based on subjective criteria and because employees often perform a mix of functions in one position, McKeague told the subcommittee. “Even some of the best employers, like the MHA, face practical challenges with the FLSA.” She added, “Complying with the statute can create high legal costs for employers.”

FLSA also makes it difficult for employers to offer flexible hours and prohibits offering comp time to private-sector nonexempt employees, said McKeague, who also is a member of SHRM’s Labor Relations Special Expertise Panel.

The Department of Labor is expected to propose changes to FLSA regulations this fall. SHRM cautions that changes could make compliance even more complicated for employers, particularly small businesses and nonprofit organizations, and could reduce flexibility for employers and employees.

“Any changes to the FLSA regulations should be carefully constructed to prevent a new wave of litigation and additional confusion,” McKeague said.

SHRM’s full testimony to the subcommittee is available at http://www.shrm.org/Advocacy/Issues/Documents/7%2021%2014%20House%20Subcom%20FLSA%20Hearing%20-%20SHRM%20Witness%20-%20Nancy%20McKeague%20FINAL.pdf

MEDIA: For more information or to schedule an interview, contact Kate Kennedy at kate.kennedy@shrm.org and 703-535-6260 and 703-862-5192 or Vanessa Gray at 703-535-6072 and vanessa.gray@shrm.org.

About the Society for Human Resource Management

The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) is the world’s largest association devoted to human resource management. Representing more than 250,000 members in over 140 countries, the Society serves the needs of HR professionals and advances the interests of the HR profession. Founded in 1948, SHRM has more than 575 affiliated chapters within the United States and subsidiary offices in China and India. Visit SHRM Online at www.shrm.org. Follow us on Twitter at: @SHRMPress

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