Dec. 1 is coming… and the Department of Labor is watching!
As human resources professionals know, the new rules applicable to the White Collar Exemptions under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) become effective Dec. 1. If you missed Godfrey & Kahn’s roundtable discussion on how to best prepare for these new regulations, you can see a summary here and here. You can also contact a member of the Labor, Employment & Immigration Practice Group to obtain materials from the roundtable discussion.
Since the administration of President Obama announced its intent to rewrite the rules, there have been many attempts by opponents of the new rule to put an end to the changes. Congress has introduced legislation to “nullify” and to stall the proposed rule changes. In the past few weeks, two new lawsuits have been filed by a group of twenty-one states (including Wisconsin) and a group of large business associations. Both lawsuits seek to prevent the implementation of the new rules. In response to the lawsuits, U.S. Department of Labor Secretary Thomas Pérez stated that the Department of Labor (DOL) is “confident in the legality of all aspects of [the] final overtime rule.” Curious readers can visit the DOL website to read the Secretary’s entire statement.
Despite the flurry of activity to try to stop the rules from taking effect, employers should continue to prepare for the new rules effective as of Dec. 1. It is worth employers’ time to invest in preparing a sound communication plan for employees who will be impacted by the new rules. Messaging should include, at minimum, topics such as the importance of recording all time worked; expectations for seeking advanced approval to work overtime hours; training on properly utilizing timekeeping systems and procedures; and the appropriate use of technology outside the four walls of the workplace.
It is also important to ensure that front-line managers are prepared for their responsibilities with respect to employees who will now be entitled to overtime compensation. The manager must be responsible for ensuring that all overtime worked is accounted for, that employees understand the appropriate process and procedure for seeking approval for and working overtime, and that each employee manages his or her time effectively and efficiently.
Now, less than two months from the implementation date, employers should complete and turn their focus from budgetary considerations and classification decisions to effective communication with employees about the upcoming changes.