Over the past couple of weeks, we’ve been talking about the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) proposed changes to the overtime regulations under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Attorney Jonathan Segal with the firm Duane Morris LLP shared his knowledge about the proposed changes to the salary basis threshold and the primary duties test. I hope you get a chance to review those posts because there’s lots of important information to consider.
The DOL is accepting comments about these changes only until Saturday, September 5, 2015. It’s critical that human resources professionals and business leaders weigh in about how these changes will impact their organization. And don’t think, “Oh, there’s no way the government is going to listen to us.”
When I first became a member of the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) and started going to meetings, I volunteered to be on my chapter’s legislative affairs committee. The committee chair was a very outspoken person. She was passionate about getting people involved in understanding and participating in the legislative process. I once asked where her passion comes from and she explained to me that she was born and grew up in South Africa. Not everyone had the same rights to vote and express their opinion about what the government was doing. It made me realize how fortunate I was to live in a place where I can participate in the process.
And we really need to make sure our voices are heard on this one.
This post isn’t to tell you what your position should be on the issues. That will be unique to you and your organization. It is to tell you how to have your voice heard. I had a chance to speak with Michael P. Aitken, vice president of government affairs at SHRM. He shared with me how human resources professionals can get involved:
- Think about the impact of the new changes. Mike pointed out that the DOL’s proposed changes not only impact compensation but other workplace activities such as telework and job sharing. Every organization will want to consider how the proposed changes will impact employees at all levels of the organization.
- Share your knowledge and expertise. Remember, you are the HR professional and the DOL does want to hear your perspective on the proposed regulations by submitting your comments. There are three ways to submit comments: 1) SHRM is collecting comments directly. You can share your story here. 2) You can comment directly to the Department of Labor. And lastly, 3) Share your comments with your local SHRM chapter or state council, who will pass them along to SHRM. SHRM is also asking SHRM chapters or state council to sign–on to SHRM’s comments to the DOL.
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The more of us who get involved, submit comments and ask questions, the better our chances to impact change. I don’t know that I would say we have a chance of making these changes go away. But if there’s going to be a change in the law…then let’s try to shape what that looks like.
To stay on top of HR-related government affairs, be sure to follow Mike on Twitter @SHRMVPAitken and check out the SHRM Policy Action Center web page. Through the SHRM Policy Action Center, you can stay on top of key issues, write your elected officials and sign up to receive calls to action.
SHRM logo used with permission. Feature image courtesy of Sharlyn Lauby