Come Dec. 1, business owners across Alabama and nationwide will be paying higher labor costs as a result of the Department of Labor’s new overtime rule. The DOL estimates the regulation will impact more than 60,000 workers in Alabama.
The rule will raise the threshold at which employees are exempt from earning overtime pay—from $23,660 to $47,476. The Fair Labor Standards Act dictates that employees are not eligible for overtime pay if they are compensated at a minimum wage level (now $47,476), if they are paid on a salaried basis, and if they perform duties considered professional, administrative, or executive in nature. Now, under the new rule, the minimum wage level triggering overtime exemption is nearly double the old rate.
NFIB has spoken at length to the media about the harmful impact of this ruling, including decreased staff morale stemming from employment status changes, reduced hours, and falling pay rates. Rosemary Elebash, NFIB/Alabama state director, says the Department of Labor’s new overtime rule is going to hurt small businesses throughout Alabama.
“It’s going to mean higher costs for employers, and that’s going to force them to make some tough decisions when it comes to staffing,” she said. “On top of that, you’re going to see some salaried positions disappear and some workers slide back to hourly jobs. In other words, these new rules are going to hurt the very people officials say they’re trying to help.”
For businesses that operate on calendar year budgets, this unplanned mandate for increased labor costs in the final month of 2016 complicates matters. The Birmingham Business Journal spoke to several Birmingham employment law experts, who advised employers to begin planning and budgeting now, evaluating the job responsibilities and the hours worked for those who will no longer be exempt.
One small item of relief: Bonuses, incentive pay, and commissions can account for up to 10 percent of the salary threshold if the payments are made on a quarterly basis. However, the exemption level will continue to rise, tied to inflation, every three years, beginning on Jan. 1, 2020.
For more information, please visit NFIB.com/Overtime.
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