Business Coalition Urges Flexibility in Overtime Rule Mandates

From PA Chamber of Business & Industry

The PA Chamber led a statewide coalition of associations and industry groups last week in sending a letter to lawmakers on the Senate Labor and Industry Committee, urging their support for legislation that would help to mitigate the impact of federal overtime requirements – particularly as new, more challenging rules are scheduled to take effect on Dec. 1, 2016.   Senate Bill 1360 was authored following a joint public hearing this summer, where employers and representatives from the nonprofit, health services and higher education communities all described how the rule will lead to higher costs. For some, this could mean converting employees from salary to hourly, more burdensome record-keeping, a tighter work schedule and fewer training opportunities. The bill aims to help employers manage federal overtime rules by allowing for accommodations to these requirements that are not yet covered under Pennsylvania law – e.g., letting employees maintain salary status through use of a “fluctuating work week,” offering flexibility in the definition of compensable “hours worked” and qualifying certain employees as exempt.

“The new rules will be effective soon and while there is nothing state lawmakers can do with respect to the federal rule itself, Senator Baker’s bill will help in a meaningful way those nonprofits, human service agencies, educational institutions and others in your district who will be impacted,” the coalition letter stresses.   In related news, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is leading a broad coalition of business groups in filing a legal challenge to the overtime rule, arguing that the Department of Labor exceeded its statutory authority in issuing the regulation and violated the Administrative Procedure Act.

In addition to the private groups’ suit, a coalition of 21 states filed a challenge at the same time reinforcing the range of entities that will have severe problems complying with this regulation. “The [U.S.] Chamber is grateful to be joined by a coalition of states and state attorneys general who are committed to improving economic growth and career opportunity, and to defending the rule of law,” said Randy Johnson, senior vice president of Labor, Immigration, and Employee Benefits for the U.S. Chamber.