Chamber Board Opposes Proposed Overtime Rule Changes; Public Comment Period Extended

The Chamber’s Board of Directors has submitted comments to a state agency opposing proposed changes to overtime eligibility for employees. A statement to the Independent Regulatory Review Commission (IRRC) calls the proposed new rules “excessive and burdensome”. Following a recent extension, employers now have until Wednesday, Aug. 22 to submit their own comments.

To recap, the changes unveiled recently by the PA Dept. of Labor and Industry include a wage threshold for “exempt status” that is more than double the current rate set by the federal government.  There would also be significant revisions to so-called “duties tests,” which are also used to determine eligibility.  Finally, the rule would establish an automatic update to the salary threshold every three years beginning in 2023.  Similar changes were proposed at the federal level a few years ago and decried by many employers, nonprofit organizations, human service agencies and others as financially nonviable and likely to cause unwelcome changes to workplace culture and morale as employees are forced to be shifted from salaried to hourly status.  Following the outcry, the proposal was ultimately struck down by a federal court.

The Columbia Montour Chamber and Columbia-Montour Visitors Bureau Joint Governmental Affairs Committee recommended the following statement to the Chamber’s Board of Directors:

“The Columbia Montour Chamber of Commerce represents nearly 400 employers from the Columbia and Montour County area. The Board of Directors of the Chamber of Commerce opposes the proposed changes to the Commonwealth’s overtime eligibility rules for employers as they are excessive and burdensome.

As proposed, the salary threshold for overtime eligibility would more than double in approximately three years. Many employers, particularly small businesses and non-profit organizations, simply do not have the resources to adjust in that period of time. These rules are likely to result in disruptions in business services, and perhaps the number of positions available.

While the intent of this proposal is to benefit employees, market conditions are driving up wages and benefits for employees in many sectors. The government should allow the free market to provide all but the most basic health and safety conditions for employees. These proposed rule changes would be an excessive intrusion into that free market system.”

A 30-day extension has been granted to submit comments to the IRRC regarding the proposed changes. The PA Chamber of Business & Industry had coordinated a coalition letter requesting the extension. Comments can be sent via email: reference IRRC Number 3202.

Additionally, a free webinar is being offered on Thursday, July 19. Want to learn more about how the proposed new rules could impact your employees and your business’ bottom line?  Sign up today for a free webinar that will explore the consequences of the overtime changes.  At 11 a.m. on Thursday, July 19, employment defense attorney Joshua C. Vaughn will cover the breadth of these changes; how employers can start planning for compliance; which employees will be eligible for overtime under the new standards; how to convert their status from salaried to hourly; and more.