A total of 108 members of Congress wrote to the Labor Department today protesting the agency's planned changes to overtime rules that basically would more than double the minimum salary that a worker would have to earn in order to qualify for the so-called white-collar exemption.
"As written, this one-size-fits-all rule would adversely impact all affected employers, especially small businesses," the bipartisan group of House members wrote in their letter. "Instead of helping our nation's workers, this rule will ultimately hurt them."
The letter from the 108 members of Congress details many potential problems with the proposed rule, but it stops short of requesting DOL withdraw the idea. Instead, it only asks Labor Secretary Thomas Perez to "reconsider moving forward with this rule as drafted."
At issue is a provision in the Fair Labor Standards Act that lets employers avoid paying time-and-a-half for working more than 40 hours a week if they work in certain jobs that are regarded as administrative positions. Currently, a worker with such a job can earn as little as $23,360 a year and still be regarded as exempt from overtime. The proposed rule would more than double that minimum threshold to $50,440 a year.
The Obama Administration has proposed the change as part of its general concerns over income inequality. It also notes that the increase adjusts for inflation a pay level that hasn't been updated since 2004. But the members of Congress didn't see things that way.
Remodelers have been nervous about this proposal since it first was proposed last summer. (Article) It's not known how many workers at remodeling companies 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. Because of that concern, organizations such as the National Association of Home Builders helped in the effort to get the House members to sign the letter, an NAHB spokesperson said.