Well, we knew this was going to happen. The U.S. Department of Labor issued a ruling this summer that changed the overtime rules under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA.) The new rules go into effect on December 1, 2016.
Organizations are getting ready and making changes. Some of those changes involve converting salaried employees to hourly status. That’s what today’s reader note is about.
I originally happened upon your site in looking for information about the 2016 FLSA overtime issue. I did not realize, when your site was included in search results that you were a “management” site. I am in no way involved in any kind of management. I am an employee. Until now, I was salaried exempt. And I’ve been changed to hourly, “time clocked.” I resent it immensely. I was told it was NOT a punishment, NOT a demotion. It FEELS like discrimination, punishment, and demotion it might as well be. I also feel hurt and humiliated. But all that is just too bad. I don’t feel like there is anything I can do about it.
I am a human resource, equal to any other resource; a desk, a computer, a box of computer paper-not an intelligent, emotional, feeling PERSON. I am penalized if I am late, leave early, take 30 extra minutes for lunch and such, but am not guaranteed any overtime. The employer does not have to let the non-exempt, hourly employee work overtime-ever. So why am I supposed to be impressed with being eligible for overtime? Plus, I must work 40 hours for overtime to be paid at time and a half. If I work 8 hours in a week that included a holiday I get paid only straight time for that 8 hours.
I realize I am venting and it is pointless, I just wanted somewhere to be able to say how I feel about the federally mandated overtime monster. A more legit question after all that. If, in the future, I should miraculously receive enough raises to be over the stigma point of $47,476, would I be exempt again?
While I’m not happy to receive a note from a frustrated employee, hopefully this note will help organizations and individuals process what’s going on. I’m on the Society for Human Resource Management’s government affairs A-Team and one of the key arguments we shared with our congressional representatives about this ruling was exactly the point being made by the reader – the resentment of being made hourly, or “time clocked.”
That being said, the ruling is still scheduled to go into effect in December. It’s good to see organizations taking their responsibility to maintain compliance seriously. And, they were right to tell the employee that it’s not punishment or a demotion. Because it’s not.
However, I completely understand how it feels. I remember when I became salaried for the first time. Even if you never come in late or leave early, there’s something about being salaried. And the reader is right that the company doesn’t owe employees overtime. Most organizations try to manage their overtime expenses, so it’s not a given.
There is one thing I do want to point out to all the employees impacted by this ruling. I’ve never in all my years in human resources ever seen an employee get promoted based upon the way they were paid. Promotions happen based on an employee’s knowledge, skills, abilities, and attitude. So is it possible to get promoted and break the minimum weekly salary requirement – basically becoming salaried again? Yes.
I know employees will not like this decision. Many organizations don’t like it either. But we have to follow the law. Employees, like organizations, have the ability to contact their congressperson and express their thoughts. There is a piece of pending legislation called the Overtime Reform and Enhancement Act (H.R. 5813) that doesn’t eliminate the salary threshold, but does phase it in over time to help employers and employees manage this change. Check it out and see if it’s something you want to tell your congressperson to support.How an employee is paid doesn't change their value to the organizationClick To Tweet
Organizations are going to have to find a way to make sure that employees who are frustrated by this change continue to feel important. Just because an employee is paid differently doesn’t change their value to the organization.
Image taken by Sharlyn Lauby while going the wrong way at the Gaylord Palms Hotel in Orlando