Builders, Contractors groups challenge proposed overtime requirements

Sources: Partnership to Protect Workplace Opportunity, Washington, D.C.; CP staff

Associated Builders & Contractors, Associated General Contractors of America and the National Association of Home Builders are representing construction interests in a coalition opposing the U.S. Department of Labor’s proposed rulemaking to alter Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) overtime pay requirements with sharp salary threshold spikes.

Individuals must presently satisfy three FLSA criteria to qualify as white collar employees exempt from federal guidelines, notes the Partnership to Protect Workplace Opportunity (PPWO): be salaried (salary basis test); earn more than $455/week, or $23,660 annually (the minimum salary requirement or salary threshold); and, perform duties consistent with Labor Department-defined executive, professional or administrative positions (primary duties test). Employees who do not meet the three requirements or fail to qualify for another exemption must be treated as “hourly” or “nonexempt” and paid 1.5 times their normal hourly wage for time exceeding 40 hours in a given work week.

Eyeing a limited public comment period, which the Department of Labor opened in early July with the formal publishing of the proposed rulemaking, PPWO has delivered the Wage and Hour Division 500-plus comments requesting a 60-day extension to weigh in. Employers from a variety of companies, organizations, and higher education institutions submitted the comments, demonstrating that a) businesses and nonprofits across the country understand the proposal’s serious consequences; and b) the public comment window does not provide adequate time to analyze the rulemaking. PPWO maintains a portal for submitting comments.

Partnership members believe employees and employers alike are best served with a system that promotes maximum flexibility in structuring hours, career advancement opportunities, and clarity for employers when classifying employees. It was formed in 2014 in response to President Barack Obama’s directive to the Department of Labor to “update and modernize” FLSA overtime regulations.