As Congress Returns for One Big Push Before the Elections, Uncertain an Overtime Fix Will Be in the Mix

By Kelly Hastings Sep 2, 2016
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Congressional leaders return to Washington next week facing an uncertain path forward on how to fund the government beyond the looming September 30 deadline, when current funding expires. Passing a continuing resolution to fund the government at current levels for a few months beyond the November elections is looking likely. Additional topics that Congress may also consider this fall include the National Defense Authorization Act, which includes provisions to limit the impact of President Barack Obama's Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces Executive Order; a funding proposal to combat the spread of the Zika virus; funding for states impacted by recent flooding; and a coal miners' pension fix.

Push for an Overtime Fix When Congress Returns?

Legislative efforts to modify the Department of Labor's final overtime regulations will also be front and center when Congress returns in September. SHRM A-Team members submitted over 2,350 communications to Congress over the August recess expressing strong support for recently introduced legislation by Representative Kurt Schrader (D-OR). H.R. 5813, the Overtime Reform and Enhancement Act, would phase in the Department of Labor's final overtime salary threshold over a three-year period. SHRM strongly supports this legislation and is currently lobbying Congress to address the 100 percent increase in the salary threshold in the rule in a reasonable way before the rule's December 1 effective date.

In expressing support for the legislation, SHRM A-Team members conducted numerous in-district meetings during the August congressional recess, including meetings with the offices of key Democrats such as Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Senator Mark Warner (D-VA), Senator Joe Donnelly (D-IN) and Representative Marc Veasey (D-TX), among many others.

A big thanks goes out to SHRM A-Team member Di Ann Sanchez, Ph.D. ( pictured above, third from the left), with DAS HR Consulting LLC for meeting with Representative Veasey (center) last month to express how the rule would negatively impact nonprofits and institutions of higher education in his district. During the meeting, leaders of the business community asked the congressman to co-sponsor Schrader's overtime legislation, H.R. 5813, which would phase in the Fair Labor Standards Act overtime salary threshold in four steps over three years, starting with an increase of approximately $36,000 on December 1. Most important, the legislation would also eliminate the automatic escalator in the final rule that would increase the salary threshold every three years, bypassing the customary regulatory process of notice and comment for increases to the salary threshold.

Don't let the clock run out without your input; contact Congress today! Ask Congress to support Congressman Kurt Schrader's legislation (H.R. 5813, the Overtime Reform and Enhancement Act) and encourage Congress to vote on this critical legislation before December 1!

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