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NURSERY MANAGEMENT: Congress introduces bill to ease overtime rule

The bill proposes an incremental, not immediate increase in the threshold for exempt employees.

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Washington, August 4, 2016 | comments

Oregon Democratic Rep. Kurt Schrader and three fellow congressmen have introduced a bill that, says Schrader, would make the phase-in of new overtime rules more "reasonable."

The Department of Labor had proposed new rules in May that raise the threshold for employees who are exempt from overtime pay from $23,660 to $47,476. The rules take effect Dec. 1.

This is the first time since 2004 that the threshold for overtime exemption will be raised.

The Overtime Reform and Enhancement Act, introduced July 16, will incrementally phase in the new threshold of $47,476 over the next three years, beginning with a 50 percent increase this December. Each year, the salary threshold will be raised by $74 per week until Dec. 1, 2019, when the DOL’s proposed $47,476 threshold will be reached.

“The current overtime threshold is horribly outdated and needs to be raised as both employees and employers navigate our changing economy. This bill will do exactly that without disrupting the way businesses operate and employees are paid,” said Congressman Schrader. “Since the DOL’s immediate phase-in date was announced, we’ve heard from business owners and their employees who are worried about implementing this increase overnight. Without sufficient time to plan for the increase, cuts and demotions will become inevitable, and workers will actually end up making less than they made before. It’s long past time we strengthen overtime pay protections for American workers in a meaningful and effective way.”

Democratic representatives Jim Cooper of Tennessee, Henry Cuellar of Texas and Collin Peterson of Minnesota joined Schrader in introducing the bill.

“I am hearing from lots of Middle Tennesseans who are worried about how this new rule will affect them,” Congressman Cooper said. “The overtime rule hadn’t been adjusted in years and needed updating. But it’s good to make commonsense changes and add flexibility so the rule works for all businesses and workers can actually have a chance to get ahead."

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