(Washington, D.C.) – Today, U.S. Senator David Vitter (R-La.), Chairman of the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship (SBC), sent a letter to Tom Perez, Secretary of the United States Department of Labor (DOL), urging DOL to delay implementation of the Obama Administration’s controversial overtime rule, which is set to negatively impact thousands of Louisiana’s small businesses and non-profits.
“This Obama Administration mandate is already forcing major companies to fire non-essential employees and stands to cripple small businesses growth if it is not delayed,” said Vitter. “Delaying the rule will give our country’s smallest companies valuable time that’s needed to understand this new regulation and prepare for the higher costs and additional paperwork needed to be in compliance. I’ll keep fighting the Obama Administration’s ‘one-size-fits-all’ policies that threaten our state and national economy.”
In July 2015, the DOL announced a proposed rule that would substantially increase the number of workers who qualify for overtime pay, including certain workers who make over $100,000 a year. Numerous stakeholders have voiced concerns that the rule will limit workplace opportunity and flexibility for both workers and employers. DOL’s rule would substantially increase the number of workers who qualify for overtime pay in a one-size-fits-all proposal that would more than double the threshold for overtime pay from $23,660 to $47,476.
As SBC Chairman, Vitter urged DOL Secretary Perez to extend the public comment period in order to allow small businesses to thoroughly examine and comment on the then-proposed rule, including sending a letter to Secretary Perez in September 2015 urging him to reconsider his decision not to extend the public comment period for the prosed rule. During a March 2016 SBC hearing to examine the potential impact of the rule on small businesses, Chairman Vitter and Committee Members heard from small business owners and a former DOL Administrator on the serve impacts the rule is expected to have on small businesses in lower cost-of-living states, such as Louisiana, who would disproportionately carry a higher economic burden than others from the Administration’s “one-size-fits-all” rule. Click here to read more.
In September, Chairman Vitter introduced the Small Business Survival from Disaster Act (S.3429) which would delay the December 1, 2016 implementation for a period of two years for any state which has a major disaster declaration. Vitter contends recent flooding in Louisiana and other areas across the country would devastate small businesses struggling to reopen and get back to business. Click here to read more.
Below is the text of today’s letter, or click here to read today’s letter.
The Honorable Tom Perez
Office of the Secretary
United States Department of Labor
200 Constitution Avenue Northwest
Washington, DC 20210
Dear Secretary Perez,
As the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, I strongly urge you to delay the December 1, 2016 implementation the Final Rule titled “Defining and Delimiting the Exemptions for Executive, Administrative, Professional, Outside Sales and Computer Employees” published in the Federal Register on May 23, 2016 (81 Fed. Reg. 32391). I have previously communicated my serious concerns with your overhaul of this particular regulation and maintain my belief that it will absolutely have a detrimental impact on the ability of small businesses, non-profits, and churches to operate effectively. As written, this rule must not be implemented.
It is particularly concerning that you completely disregarded the recommendations of the Small Business Administration (SBA) Office of Advocacy after they conducted several roundtables and listening sessions that were attended by Department of Labor (DOL) officials. I also have concerns that you failed to adequately consider the rule’s impact on faith-based places of worship. Church Ministry often takes place after normal working hours, and staff members need the flexibility of adjusting their schedules in order to respond to the many needs of the congregation and the community.
Despite repeated requests from concerned parties across the country to extend the public comment period, reconsider the proposed rule, and now to delay the implementation of the final rule, it is obvious that the Obama Administration will charge ahead to make these extreme changes to the Fair Labor Standards Act before the end of the President’s term.
While this rule still has more than a month before it is enforced, many firms across the country are undertaking massive lay-offs specifically targeting the hourly wage and administrative positions this rule was designed to help. Media outlets have reported thousands of firings at major companies in an effort to plan ahead for the significant impact the rule will have on their budgets. I believe this is just the start. The burden and cost of complying with the new rule will have a much greater impact on smaller firms. For these reasons and the others that I have communicated to you previously, I strongly urge you to delay the implementation of this rule.
Thank you for your attention.
United States Senate