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Small businesses urge Senate to pass Lankford Bill to delay Overtime Rule

James Lankford (Source James Lankford) James Lankford (Source James Lankford)

Washington, D.C. (KSWO) – Legislation introduced last night by Sen. James Lankford would push back the looming deadline for the Department of Labor (DOL) Overtime Rule.

“It’s impossible for many small businesses to meet the December 1 deadline, and the clock is ticking,” said Juanita Duggan, NFIB President and CEO.  “In just a few weeks, many thousands of small businesses could face heavy penalties for being out of compliance.  NFIB is demanding that the Senate take action immediately.”

On May 18, President Obama and Department of Labor Secretary Tom Perez finalized this rule to update overtime regulations, which will automatically extend overtime pay to over 4 million workers within the first year of implementation. The rule will require employers to pay overtime to salaried workers earning less than $47,500 a year, double the current threshold of $23,660.

“This federal overtime rule is devastating for small businesses, colleges and nonprofits all across America, but particularly in states with a low cost-of-living,” said Senator Lankford. “The economic realities and regional cost of living differences that exist throughout the country were completely ignored in favor of yet another one-size-fits-all approach taken by the Obama Department of Labor.  This regulation will hurt families across the nation and will create one more barrier to people trying to rise to the middle class. I have been told from small business owners, colleges and nonprofits that this federal overtime rule will quickly lead to job loss, increased tuition, and the reduction of charitable services. I think this rule should be pulled entirely, but at least its implementation should be delayed or slowed.”

Sen. Lankford’s legislation would delay the compliance date of the new DOL Overtime Rule until June 1, 2017.  The U.S. House of Representatives yesterday passed identical legislation.  If the Senate fails to pass the bill, small business owners will have only until December 1st to identify eligible employees, restructure their payroll systems, and potentially convert salaried workers into hourly employees. 

“Small employers typically do not have HR departments and compliance professionals to help them implement massive new rules like this,” said Duggan.  “Complying with this regulation will be complicated, time-consuming, and expensive.  It’s hugely problematic for a wide range of employers, including small businesses, universities and colleges, local governments, and non-profit organizations.”

A coalition of business groups, including NFIB, and a coalition of 21 states filed separate lawsuits last week asking a federal court to block the Overtime Rule. NFIB also filed a petition requesting that the DOL delay the compliance deadline until June 1, 2017, giving small business owners a crucial six-month extension.

“Small businesses are very grateful that Sen. Lankford, Sen. Collins, and Sen. Alexander introduced this delay, and we strongly urge the Senate to make this a high priority,” said Duggan.  “Every Senator who says that they’re a supporter of small business needs to vote for this bill before Congress breaks for recess.”

For more information about NFIB, please visit www.nfib.com/overtime.

Copyright 2016 KSWO. All rights reserved.

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