On the same day that 108 members of Congress wrote the Labor Department protesting the agency's planned changes to overtime rules, the National Lumber and Building Material Dealers Association (NLBMDA) called on dealers today to increase the pressure by getting even more House members to express their concerns.
"NLBMDA encourages all members to ... ask their Representative to contact Labor Secretary Thomas Perez and urge DOL to reconsider the proposed changes to employees eligible for overtime pay," the association said in an Action Alert. The proposal will "threaten businesses, employees, and the economy as a whole," the association declared.
The proposed rule raising such alarms basically would more than double, to $50,440 a year, the minimum salary that a worker would have to earn in order to qualify for the so-called white-collar exemption in the Fair Labor Standards Act--the exemption that lets employers avoid paying time-and-a-half for working more than 40 hours a week. The current threshold under the exemption, known as EAP, is $23,360 a year.
The Obama Administration has proposed the change as part of its general concerns over income inequality. It also notes that the increase basically adjusts for inflation a pay level that hasn't been updated since 2004. But the members of Congress didn't see things that way.
"As written, this one-size-fits-all rule would adversely impact all affected employers, especially small businesses," the 108 House members wrote in their letter. "Instead of helping our nation's workers, this rule will ultimately hurt them."
Dealers have been nervous about this proposal since it first was proposed last summer. (Article) It's not known how many workers at LBM operations would be among the nearly 5 million workers nationwide who'd be affected by this change, but the potential impact is widely regarded as severe.
The letter from the 108 members of Congress details many of those potential problems, but it stops short of requesting DOL withdraw the proposal. Instead, it only asks Perez to "reconsider moving forward with this rule as drafted."