SHRM Eager for Lawmakers to Push Back on Overtime Changes before December 1

By Chatrane Birbal Sep 23, 2016
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The clock is ticking—not only for when Congress adjourns for the campaign season but also for when the Department of Labor's (DOL's) changes to the overtime regulations go into effect on December 1. That's why a small but growing chorus of bipartisan lawmakers on Capitol Hill are coming together in support of a bill introduced in July by Rep. Kurt Schrader (D-OR) titled the Overtime Reform and Enhancement Act (H.R. 5813).

Increasing support for H.R. 5813 is an indication of the growing concern in Congress over the impending DOL changes to the overtime regulations and the rule's impact on organizations and their employees. Schrader's legislation would phase in the DOL's new salary threshold over three years, starting with a salary threshold increase to $35,984 on December 1, 2016. Additional increases would occur in December 2017, 2018 and 2019. Importantly, if enacted, the legislation would also prohibit the final rule's future automatic increases to the salary threshold.

To date, 12 bipartisan members of the House have come forward to co-sponsor H.R. 5813:

    • Rep. Madeleine Bordallo (D-Guam)
    • Rep. Jim Cooper (D-TN)
    • Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-TX)
    • Rep. Tom Emmer (R-MN)
    • Rep. Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE)
    • Rep. Gwen Graham (D-FL)
    • Rep. David Jolly (R-FL)
    • Rep. Jeff Miller (R-FL)
    • Rep. Scott H. Peters (D-CA)
    • Rep. Collin C. Peterson (D-MN)
    • Rep. Reid Ribble (R-WI)
    • Rep. David Rouzer (R-NC 

SHRM supports this legislation and applauds House members for continuing to work toward a balanced solution to address the overtime rule in a way that would be beneficial to both employers and employees. 

But we need your help to push this legislation across the finish line before Congress adjourns! SHRM members are encouraged to write to their representatives in the House and ask them to co-sponsor H.R. 5813! 

On another front, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, along with 13 other national associations and several local chambers, are challenging the DOL's overtime rule in district court in Texas. A companion case has been filed in the same court by 21 states challenging the OT rule. Both cases seek to enjoin the rule before the December 1 effective date and assert that the DOL exceeded its constitutional authority in setting the new salary threshold so high that it impairs an employer's statutory right to continue to treat as exempt millions of currently exempt executive, administrative and professional employees, a change that departs from over 75 years of regulatory history. In addition, the lawsuits challenge the automatic escalator and the lack of notice and comment for future salary increases as exceeding statutory authority, as well. 

Looking ahead to 2017, Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC), who is expected to assume the chairmanship of the House of Representatives Education and the Workforce Committee in the 115th Congress, recently remarked that if efforts to derail or revise the overtime regulations fail in 2016, she plans to continue the fight as chair of the House labor panel. In a recent interview with SHRM Online, Foxx indicated she's ready to tackle the DOL's new regulations on overtime early in 2017, if need be.

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