Public Comment – Minimum Wage for Exempt Employees

Posted electronically to RIN 1235-AA20

See backround information / questions to address with this request for public comments.

All public comments to RIN 1235-AA20 must be received by 24 September 2017.

Docket ID: WHD-2017-0002
Agency: Wage and Hour Division (WHD)
Parent Agency: Department of Labor (DOL)

Over the past 25 years I have worked as a temporary employee via consulting companies several times in what is known as ‘try before buying’. The company for which I worked, afraid of hiring someone permanently, hires a contract employee from a consulting company for an hourly rate, on the understanding that if the employee works out after 6 months they will be directly hired as a salaried employee. After several of these experiences, I realized that unless it was expressly written into my contract that I was to receive overtime pay, I would never receive it. So I made sure that there was a time and a half provision in all subsequent contracts.

On my last contract even though I had expressly had a time and a half provision included, I was denied overtime pay, because of guidelines from the Department of Labor for computer / data processing employees. Since I was receiving an hourly rate over the maximum hourly rate ( for overtime ) it was decided by the consulting company/and their client the company for which I was performing services that they did not have to conform to the time and a half provision in my contract. As I hoped to become a direct hire I did not take any action against either the consulting company or the company for which I provided services. Because of my forbearance, I was hired as a direct employee after I had proved myself.

I do not believe these hourly / annual minimums have any bearing on whether an employee should be paid overtime pay. If an employee must work more than 40 hrs a week – they should be compensated with the appropriate time and a half and double time pay – period. The complexity of these rules / regulations allow employers too much leeway in interpretation as workers do not have any way to effectively advocate for their right to fair pay.

As I read again the questions included with this proposed regulatory change, I am appalled. You actually believe that an employer will raise the pay of their exempt employees just because of this change? ( Question 6 ) When it is obvious from the other questions that the formula for determining what that minimum exempt compensation is so complicated that it would be the rare employee who would ever challenge their employer about their exempt pay being too low. And even if they did, what stops an employer from finding fault with the employee and firing them – and hiring someone else – especially as there is so much underemployment in the economy at this time? These regulations are conceived for a fantasy world where employers do not lie, and somehow employees are exploiting their employers when the employers have all the power.

The whole point of forcing employers to not overwork their employees is to also force them to hire more staff – either bringing in these employees as regular exempt employees with benefits ( instead of temporary employees ) or hiring more temporary employees. ( Which big employers like Wal-mart abuse to keep most employees below 30 hours a week which is an issue not addressed in this regulation. )

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *