Poll: Industry opposes overtime ruling

While many oppose it, some showed support for the changes
Wednesday, September 28, 2016

YARMOUTH, Maine—The U.S. Department of Labor submitted revisions to the Fair Labor Standards Act that would more than double the current threshold for earning overtime pay. Industry associations, such as ESA and SIA have publicly opposed the ruling, saying it will overwhelm the small businesses in the industry. Just under half of respondents to Security Systems News’ latest poll on the ruling say it should be entirely blocked.

Dan Fitch, president and CEO of FCI & Associates, called the ruling “Unnecessary government intervention.” FCI & Associates does contract labor fulfillment for the alarm industry. “Companies with tight margins will be forced to absorb the costs. This new ruling will not benefit employees at all. Employers will be forced to restructure ‘salaried’ comp plans back to ‘hourly,’ with higher expectations of the employee,” Fitch continued.

Currently, workers making less than $455 per week are eligible for overtime pay, while the recent ruling would increase that to employees earning less than $913 per week.

Forty-three percent of respondents said that the ruling should be blocked.

“I think it could hurt our companies, or cause us to restructure our overtime rules in-house. Or the burden will be passed on to the customers by billable rate increases,” said another reader.

Twenty-seven percent agree with Overtime Reform and Enhancement Act, and that the new benefits should be phased in over a period of years. The act would implement the ruling over the next three years, with a 50 percent increase in December.

Responses showed a divide in how readers think the ruling will impact the industry. Forty-one percent said they are not sure of what the impact will be yet. Though, 36 percent indicated that the ruling would affect the way their company either structures its business or hires employees. Twenty-three percent believe it will affect their bottom line.

Several respondents wrote in favor of the ruling. “The overtime ruling can provide greater accountability to employees who feel they are being more closely compensated for the job they are doing especially with long hours,” said one reader.

“The overtime rule as well as the minimum wage increase has been needed for a long time,” said another respondent.

“I am a proponent of fair work for fair pay. If a business expects its employees to work overtime, it should expect to have to pay those employees for the extra time it requires of them. This may force employers to hire enough resources to eliminate overtime (if the hours warrant it),” another reader wrote in.

Thirty-four percent of respondents say they have been following the ruling closely. Forty-three percent said they have heard a bit about it. For 23 percent of respondents, SSN’s poll was their first notice of the new overtime ruling.