Advocacy hosts Small Business Roundtables in Colorado on Overtime Regulations
By Janis Reyes, Assistant Chief Counsel
“Have you heard about the Department of Labor’s new Overtime Regulations?” This question was asked to four roundtables of small business owners and representatives in Boulder and Denver, CO. The Office of Advocacy is working with the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) to complete outreach and to educate small businesses across the country on the agency’s new final overtime regulations, which are effective on December 1, 2016.
From August 9-11, I spoke at roundtables at the Mi Casa Resource Center, the Boulder Public Library, the Colorado Association of Commerce and Industry (CACI) and the Colorado Small Business Development Center (SBDC). Chad Frasier, District Director for DOL in Colorado, gave a briefing of the rule at a later event. This final rule affects a wide range of small entities. This was reflected by the diverse types of companies that participated in these roundtables, such as human resources professionals, start-ups, non-profit organizations, restaurants, retail, construction companies, banks, and Latino-owned businesses.
Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), employees are entitled to overtime pay if they work over 40 hours a week. However, there are many exemptions under the FLSA. This final rule amends the FLSA “white collar” exemption from overtime pay for executive, administrative, and professional employees. The new rule updates the minimum salary threshold that determines which employees are subject to the exemption, increasing this threshold from $23,660 to $47,476. All employees, including managers, making under $47,476 will be eligible for overtime pay on December 1. DOL will be making automatic updates to this minimum salary threshold every 3 years beginning on January 1, 2020.
Reyes (standing middle) speaks to small business owners at the Mi Casa Resource Center in Colorado.
First, the roundtables started with a quick briefing of the final rule. DOL has made available a webinar, a small business compliance guide, and many other helpful materials on its website. Then, I discussed Advocacy’s involvement with this rulemaking, such as completing five roundtables across the country and submitting a public comment letter based on this feedback. Many of the small businesses at the roundtables were not familiar with the new regulations, and asked many questions about the applicability of the rules to their specific businesses. For example, one non-profit organization asked if the rule applied to them. I referred this organization to DOL’s fact sheet on this topic. I also recommended that small businesses also call DOL’s Wage and Hour Division’s toll-free information and helpline, available 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., 1-866-4-USWAGE (1-866-487-9243). Participants at the roundtable requested more information and trainings on labor topics such as the FLSA and generally how to hire employees.
Advocacy is working with DOL on getting more compliance information to small entities on this rulemaking, such as a webinar focused on small businesses and regional events. For more information, please contact me at Janis.Reyes@sba.gov.