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The outcome of the presidential race will determine whether the
Fair Labor Standards Act overtime rule will survive intact.
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton unequivocally supports the rule, while Republican presidential candidate
Donald Trump told online news outlet Circa Aug. 12 that he favors a small-business exemption from the rule.
The regulations, which take effect Dec. 1, more than double the exempt salary threshold from $23,660 to $47,476. The rule also automatically increases the threshold every three years to 40 percent of the weekly earnings of full-time salaried workers in the lowest-wage Census region, the South.
Ross Eisenbrey, vice president of the Economic Policy Institute, a Washington, D.C., think tank researching policies that affect workers, said that if Trump exempted small businesses, half of U.S. employers would be affected. "To deny overtime protection to half the U.S. workforce strikes me as a bad thing to do," Eisenbrey said.
Jack Mozloom, media director for the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), disagreed, saying that the NFIB appreciates that Trump "acknowledges the impact of the rule on small businesses. Our members are very concerned about it." But Mozloom added that the NFIB couldn't take a position on Trump's statement, since "there is no meat on the bones" of the presidential candidate's assertion.
By contrast, Clinton was emphatic in her support of the rule as soon as it was issued, stating May 18, "I applaud President [Barack] Obama and Secretary of Labor [Thomas] Perez for these final overtime rules, which will lift up workers nationwide and help get incomes rising again for working families. Within the first year these rules are in effect, millions more workers will be eligible for overtime, finally getting paid in full for the hours they are putting in on the job."
"Efforts to derail the new rule—such as the
Protecting Workplace Advancement and Opportunity Act, introduced by congressional Republicans—will likely face [a] veto if Clinton wins the presidency," should legislation reach her desk, said Jim Swartz, an attorney with Polsinelli in Atlanta. "A Clinton presidency ensures [the rule's] implementation."
Opposition to the overtime rule continues to brew, as many small restaurants and retailers can't raise entry-level managers' salaries above the new exempt threshold and can't afford to pay the managers overtime, Mozloom said.
He added that the overtime rule is "especially a big concern where the cost of living is low." Mozloom doesn't expect it to have as big an impact in metropolitan areas, where salaries are higher.
Jesse Panuccio, an attorney at Foley & Lardner in Miami, outlined a few other small-business concerns:
Support for Rule
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