Capitol Hill Update

SHRM Tells House Subcommittee FLSA Wage and Hour Standards Are Complicated

Jun 12, 2015

This week, SHRM member Nicole Berberich, HR director at the Cincinnati Animal Referral and Emergency (CARE) Center in Ohio, testified on behalf of SHRM before the U.S. House Subcommittee on Workforce Protections. This hearing focused on the rules and regulations implementing the wage and hour standards provided under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

In her testimony, Berberich (pictured with Subcommittee chair Tim Walberg and an active SHRM Advocacy Team) member, outlined the following:

  • Complexity of Current Regulations – HR professionals report significant challenges navigating the complex FLSA regulations. In fact, the SHRM HR Knowledge Center received over 14,000 FLSA inquiries last year, second only to questions about the Family and Medical Leave Act.
  • Limitations on Workplace Flexibility – The FLSA limits workplace flexibility because private-sector employers are currently prohibited from offering nonexempt employees the option of paid time off instead of overtime compensation (“comp time”), even though public-sector employees have access to this type of flexibility. In addition, biweekly workweeks for hourly employees are limited under the FLSA.
  • Impact of Changes to the Overtime Regulations – The pending changes to the FLSA overtime regulations are expected to impact every employer, further complicating an already complex set of regulations for HR professionals. Significant changes to the salary basis and/or primary duty test will likely mean that more employees will move from exempt to nonexempt status, resulting in less workplace flexibility for employees.

This timely hearing on the FLSA sets the stage for additional congressional hearings on the pending overtime regulations, in which SHRM will likely be involved given HR professionals’ practical expertise implementing the FLSA. The proposed overtime rule changes are expected this month. SHRM also chairs the Partnership to Protect Workplace Opportunity, a coalition of over twenty employer groups which will respond to the proposed changes to the FLSA overtime regulations.

Want to be prepared for the changes to overtime regulations? In anticipation of the overtime rule being issued this month, SHRM has added a NEW session to the Annual Conference line-up. Hear from the experts, including: Mike Eastman, counsel to SHRM on overtime regulations and a veteran of the 2004 overtime rule changes and SHRM’s very own Lisa Horn and Nancy Hammer, who will outline SHRM’s member advocacy efforts on how to respond to these proposed changes. Also, learn how you can help influence the final overtime regulation by providing DOL with direct feedback! For more information, please check out the section of SHRM's HR Policy Action Center dedicated to the upcoming overtime regulations rewrite.


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