Hatch, Senate Republicans to administration: Give public more time, input on overtime proposal

Stock image, St. George News

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Sen. Orrin Hatch, member and former chairman of the Senate health, education, labor and pensions committee, alongside current committee chairman Lamar Alexander joined a group of Republican senators Friday in urging the administration to give the public “a reasonable opportunity” to review and respond to its proposed rule to make drastic changes to existing overtime eligibility.

On July 6, the Department of Labor issued a notice of proposed rule making to make significant changes to existing overtime regulations under the Fair Labor Standards Act. The Labor Department proposal will more than double the current salary threshold level for exemption from overtime requirements and automatically update that level annually.

In a letter to Labor Secretary Tom Perez, the Republicans warn that the administration’s proposal would impose heavy burdens on employers in vital industries, from restaurants and retail, to manufacturers and nonprofits, impacting their ability to create new jobs and maintain existing ones.

“As written, DOL’s proposal would substantially increase the number of workers who qualify for overtime pay, which presents complex questions that must be carefully considered by impacted individuals and entities across numerous industries, which are vital to our economy,” the senators wrote in the letter. “For employers – many of which are small businesses – the process of reviewing the NPRM, weighing its potential administrative burdens, business implications, and compliance concerns, and submitting feedback in writing will be incredibly time consuming. The current 60-day comment period is simply inadequate to properly evaluate DOL’s proposal and complete these important steps.”

The letter is signed by the following senators:

  • Lamar Alexander
  • Mike Enzi
  • Johnny Isakson
  • Susan Collins
  • Lisa Murkowski
  • Tim Scott
  • Orrin Hatch
  • Pat Roberts
  • Bill Cassidy
  • James Lankford

The full text of the letter follows and can also be viewed online here.

We are writing to request that the public comment period for the U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) July 6, 2015, Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) on overtime pay be extended for at least an additional 60 days to allow a reasonable opportunity to review the proposal and thoughtfully respond.

DOL’s proposal is nearly three times as long as the agency’s 2003 proposal (68 FR 15560), but the agency has granted a significantly shorter comment period for the current proposal. The current NPRM spans nearly 100 pages in the Federal Register, and carries a 60-day comment period, which is far shorter than the 90-day comment period granted by DOL for its mere 37-page proposal in 2003.

Among the proposed changes, DOL aims to more than double the current salary threshold under the Fair Labor Standards Act’s (FLSA) overtime exemption for administrative, executive, and professional employees. DOL also proposes to update this threshold level annually on the basis of a metric the agency has yet to determine.

As written, DOL’s proposal would substantially increase the number of workers who qualify for overtime pay, which presents complex questions that must be carefully considered by impacted individuals and entities across numerous industries, which are vital to our economy. For employers – many of which are small businesses – the process of reviewing the NPRM, weighing its potential administrative burdens, business implications, and compliance concerns, and submitting feedback in writing will be incredibly time consuming. The current 60-day comment period is simply inadequate to properly evaluate DOL’s proposal and complete these important steps.

In order to ensure a thorough public record with all relevant feedback and accurate data, more time is needed. Therefore, we encourage the Department to allow full public participation in the rulemaking process by extending the comment period for its NPRM by a minimum of 60 days.

We appreciate your prompt attention to this request, and look forward to staying apprised of further developments.”

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22 Comments

  • Cuberantcamper July 27, 2015 at 1:02 pm

    The idea that paying someone a living wage is some how bad for the economy is just so much BS. The wages in this country are LOW compared to almost any other developed countries. Orrin is just doing the bidding of his rich supporters. They want all the money and are too selfish to share. These are the people who would disband Social Security, Medicare and (of course) the Affordable Care Act.

    • fun bag July 27, 2015 at 1:52 pm

      That’s a big thing the mormon church has in common with the R party and one of the reasons they are joined at the hip. They just hate the idea of paying people for their labor. Just look at how much free labor the LDS church relies on while their big dogs get to live like royals…

    • AnnieMated July 27, 2015 at 3:10 pm

      You want good people you have pay them.

  • 42214 July 27, 2015 at 1:47 pm

    First let me say I paid my employees well because it was in my company’s best interest for retention of skilled and loyal employees. Secondly, let me say I wouldn’t like being told what I had to do by the gov’t. I’m a free market disciple of Milton Friedman and think that a free market will deal with these types of labor issues.

    • fun bag July 27, 2015 at 2:03 pm

      Firstly, no one cares. Secondly, if ur being serious then ur an idiot.. /end story

      • 42214 July 27, 2015 at 3:50 pm

        First, I did not write this for your benefit and I think some do care. Second, I am serious. If I’m an idiot I made a lot of money being stupid.

    • AnnieMated July 27, 2015 at 3:08 pm

      I have to agree with 42214, in part at least. If you want to hire good people you have to pay them. One of the things that made, for example, Apple so successful in the early days was that they actively sought out and hired great people, dedicated people and paid them well. Apple’s early executives understood that if Apple wanted to hire and retain great people they had to pay them and pay them well. I would argue that the same is true for any other field.

      • 42214 July 27, 2015 at 3:57 pm

        The free market depends on open and fair competition. If there is high demand for a skill and short supply for that worker, you have to pay more. Problem here is little demand for specialized skilled labor coupled with an accepted practice of paying low wages.

        • fun bag July 27, 2015 at 7:24 pm

          whatever you say boss, but whenever i see “free market” in regards to labor it’ always about screwing the laborer somehow. Don’t care about your money either boss and i can’t stop you from blathering on and on so bleh 🙂 fact is mormons are the cheapest collective group of idiots you will find anywhere. They just plainly don’t like to pay… hence the dump wages of utah…

          • 42214 July 27, 2015 at 11:52 pm

            You are right, unskilled labor is not a fan of free market economics. You would probably have a hard time competing.

          • 42214 July 28, 2015 at 12:09 am

            I apologize, shouldn’t have mention money but it was hysterical to me when you called me an idiot for paying my employees well. Fact remains, I did make a lot of money being an “idiot” and I’m sure you’ve been an idiot all these years for nothing.

          • 42214 July 28, 2015 at 2:14 am

            In many of your inane rants you accuse Mormons of being cheap, you cite “dump wages” in Utah and you said Gold Cross employees should be happy with $8 an hour or be replaced. I said I paid good wages to keep my employees and you call me an idiot. Can you explain your contradictions and inconsistencies? Do you think before you speak or just regurgitate nonsense for the sake of being obnoxious?

          • fun bag July 28, 2015 at 4:44 pm

            Wow boss, might wanna calm down huh? called u an idiot for blathering on and on about ur “free market” nonsense. if u found some good workers and wanna keep them then pay them all good for you. Maybe the “free market” will eventually supply u with some illegals that will work twice as hard for half the pay. That right there is “free market” at its best. If them gold cross clowns don’t like the pay then they can use the “free market” and go and find a better job and stop whining. If I don’t like ur whiny, blathering posts i can use the “free market” and find better posts to read. Thanks for the laugh, Boss. Cheers 😉

          • fun bag July 28, 2015 at 4:50 pm

            oh and mormons being cheap is 100% consistent. Never got a nickel off a mormon that didn’t have claw marks dug into it 😛

          • 42214 July 28, 2015 at 5:21 pm

            Mr Boss would be better, or Sir.

          • 42214 July 28, 2015 at 5:30 pm

            I sense from your hostility that I hit a raw nerve. You do have a hard time competing in a free market labor pool. You’re trying to get $7 an hour and those darn illegals will work for less.

          • fun bag July 28, 2015 at 7:27 pm

            sure boss, whatever u say 😉

      • 42214 July 27, 2015 at 3:59 pm

        The free market depends on open and fair competition. If there is high demand for a skill and short supply for that worker, you have to pay more. Problem here is little demand for specialized skilled labor coupled with an accepted practice of paying low wages. An old saying I learned in business, “you pay peanuts, you get monkeys”

        • 42214 July 27, 2015 at 4:13 pm

          Sorry, double click by mistake

  • fun bag July 27, 2015 at 2:07 pm

    The “free market” has always done a great job of finding slave labor. We’re all thankful we found a place like china that doesn’t value human life to build everything. Use ’em up and toss ’em away capitalist/communist dictatorship…

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