Feds ignore private sector, construction industry with overtime rule change

June 6, 2016

by Nick Novak

This column was originally published by The Daily Reporter.

When will enough be enough for the Obama administration? It seems as if every time a business owner turns around these days, there is another federal rule change that is going to be detrimental to their bottom line.

From unruly EPA regulations that are going to hamper the manufacturing and energy industries, to the new OSHA rule on silica dust that will be harmful to construction companies, folks in the private sector are truly hurting.

And now, private businesses from all segments and every part of the country are going to face regulations that will most likely increase costs and reduce productivity. Thanks to a final rule that was announced last month by President Obama’s administration, the threshold for paying overtime to salaried employees is going to double.

Since 2004, so-called “white-collar,” salaried employees have not been guaranteed overtime as long as they earn more than $23,660 and meet certain tests regarding their job duties. However, starting Dec. 1, the federal government will force employers to pay overtime to currently exempt workers who earn a salary of up to $47,476 a year.

While the White House touts this change as a way to, “boost wages for workers by $12 billion over the next 10 years,” it fails to mention that this has to be paid for by the private sector. Also conveniently overlooked is the fact that a large portion of the needed money will have to come from small businesses that operate on thin profit margins.

Since the Department of Labor proposed this new rule, Associated Builders and Contractors has been a strong opponent of it. Last fall, the ABC submitted comments to the labor department urging officials there to reconsider the change. More than 900 ABC members signed their names as opponents.

Following the release of the final rule, Kristen Swearingen, ABC vice president of legislative and political affairs, clearly stated why it will have such damaging consequences for the construction industry.

“DOL’s overtime rule will rob employers of needed flexibility and employees of career advancement avenues, and it will have a disruptive effect on the construction industry as a whole,” she said. “The unprecedented increase in the salary threshold may force some contractors to consider switching certain employees from salaried positions to hourly. This change may deprive employees of autonomy in their work schedules and may be perceived as a demotion to employees.”

Continue reading the column at DailyReporter.com.