July 16, 2018

Washington Wire: Labor Department Overtime Expansion Rule Heads for White House Review


Labor Department Overtime Expansion Rule Heads for White House Review  

The Department of Labor’s (DoL) final rule to increase the white-collar overtime exemption threshold by 113 percent has advanced ahead of schedule. DoL has sent the new standard to the White House for review last week, the last step before it becomes final. With review-time of a month or two, we expect to see the final rule published in April or very early May, ahead of a previously predicted July release.  
Most likely, the rush is due to an unofficial deadline arising from the Congressional Review Act, which gives Congress 60 legislative days to review and issue a Resolution of Disapproval to block any major new regulation before it takes effect. The President will certainly veto any such Resolution, however, were an agency to issue this or any other regulation after mid-May, Congress could delay its review into the next Administration in the hopes a Republican President would sign the Resolution, blocking the regulation.  
The new overtime rule would expand the number of workers eligible for overtime by roughly 5 million, mostly “white collar,” workers starting in 2016. The proposal raises the overtime exemption wage to $50,440 per year or $970 per week from $23,660 for Executive, Administrative, Professional & Clerical Employees (EAP). This one-size fits all approach applies to all states without factoring in regional pay differences. It also indexes the overtime exemption at a rate with roughly 10 percent annual increases in addition to raising the exemption threshold for Highly Compensated Employees from $100,000 to $122,148. The new threshold could take effect next summer and the Department is proposing to increase the threshold annually, which will crush HR departments. One Voice submitted formal comments last year opposing the dramatic jump virtually overnight and will continue to work on this issue.



Final Persuader Rule Released
Following repeated delays since 2011, the Department of Labor released the final “Persuader Rule,” on March 23, 2016. The new regulation requires that employers and their advisors file certain reports with the Department if they use outside labor consultants to interact with their employees during a union organizing activity or collective bargaining dispute. The final rule regarding the “advice exception” to the so-called “Persuader Rule” in the Labor-Management Reporting Disclosure Act of 1959 (LMRDA), which was initially proposed in June 2011, was first scheduled to be released in November 2013. One Voice has long fought this rule and we expect strong legal objections to the regulation from our allies on Capitol Hill and throughout the business community.



EPA Moving Forward with Chlorinated Paraffins Rule
The U.S. EPA is moving forward with additional regulation of certain medium and long chain Chlorinated Paraffins (CP). The Agency wants to deem CPs as new chemicals, requiring significant new reporting and handling requirements, despite its decades long use in metalforming manufacturing. One Voice is working with defense, automotive, and aerospace suppliers on this issue following a December 2014 EPA letter citing its contention that CPs, short-, medium-, and long-chain range are harmful to the environment and health. Among other uses, CPs are used as lubricants and coolants in metal cutting and metalforming operations and as secondary plasticizers and flame retardants in plastics. The EPA initially proposed in its letter to three companies that they either immediately find a substitute or the EPA would mandate the end of its commercial use by May 2016 (that has since been pushed back to 2017). The Department of Defense has raised concerns directly with EPA asking them to stop their action, while some in the aerospace and defense industries say CPs are critical and lack an alternative. The EPA accepted public comments through March 23 and could issue a final rule in the coming months.