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IAAPA Continues to Fight Against Burdensome New U.S. Overtime Rules

IAAPA Continues to Fight Against Burdensome New Overtime Rules
for U.S. Members

(Alexandria, Virginia, United States) – The International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA) continues to fight burdensome overtime rules recently announced by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL). In addition to expressing the industry's opposition to the new rules through written comments and personal visits to Congressional leaders over the last two years, the association has joined forces with the Partnership to Protect Workplace Opportunity to change the new rule announced May 18. The new rule could raise costs for employers and limit opportunities for entry- and mid-level managers, administrative employees, and professional staff in the attractions industry.

New Rule on Overtime Exemptions

On May 18, the DOL released its final rule which changes the overtime pay exemptions for executive, administrative, and professional employees (the "white collar exemptions") under the Fair Labor Standard Act's (FLSA). The new rule, which goes into effect Dec. 1, 2016, more than doubles the salary threshold for classifying an employee as exempt from overtime and increases the qualifying annual salary from $23,660 ($455 per week) to $47,476 annually ($913 per week).

Prior to the new rule, employers were required to pay overtime wages (time and a half) to employees who made up to $23,660 annually and who worked more than 40 hours a week. Employees who made more than $23,660, and met certain tests regarding their work duties could be exempt for overtime pay. Under the new rule, employers will have to pay overtime to employees who make up to $47,476 annually if they work more than 40 hours. Employees who make more than $47,476 annually may still be eligible for overtime if their work duties do not meet certain tests. Federal overtime pay is typically time and a half. Plus, the salary threshold will automatically update every three years, starting Jan. 1, 2020.

The rule is complex and there are complicated definitions for who the rule applies to and to what extent. Employers should study the new rule carefully. The highlights of the new rule from the U.S. Department of Labor available here. Employers should also consult with their legal counsel to fully understand the implications for their businesses, particularly as they consider making changes to address the new guidelines. They should also understand applicable state laws on overtime as they may include thresholds that even exceed the new Federal guidelines.

IAAPA Works to Enhance Overtime Rule

For the nearly two years, IAAPA's Advocacy team has worked to ensure the interest of its members and the attraction's industry was heard as this new rule was developed. The association submitted comments to the DOL in Sept. 2015, outlining the industry's concerns with doubling the salary threshold and implementing the automatic increases. At one time, the new rule also featured a 60-day implementation period. IAAPA lobbied against the unreasonable implementation period and helped push out the effective date to Dec. 1. The association has also been an active participant in the Partnership to Protect Workplace Opportunity which is a coalition of organizations that worked together to lobby Congress and the DOL on the effects of this rule.

As the voice of the attractions industry in Washington, IAAPA will continue to urge Congress to pass the Protecting Workplace Advancement and Opportunity Act (Senate bill 2707 and House of Representatives bill 4773), which would nullify this new rule and require Department of Labor to perform an economic analysis of how changes to overtime regulations will negatively impact employers and employees.

"The attractions industry prides itself on being an industry where employees can grow up through the business," said IAAPA President and CEO Paul Noland. "Many of today's industry leaders held their first jobs at attractions in high school or college and stayed in the industry in professional roles as they gained education and experience.

"While the overtime changes may be well intended, the Department of Labor's final rule may ultimately reduce opportunities for employees, make it more difficult for entry- and mid-level management employees to advance and grow in their career, unduly increase the costs for doing business, and require employers to restructure their workforce to reduce the negative impacts of the new rule. The new rule is bad for our members and their employees so we are committed to do all we can to minimize the burden it creates."

David Novstrup, GM and co-owner of Wylie Thunder Road and Thunder Mountain, in Aberdeen, South Dakota, discussed the impact that the new regulations would have on his company. "The new U.S. Department of Labor overtime rule is bad for employees and businesses," Novstrup stated. "Businesses like mine will be forced to reclassify professional salaried employees to hourly positions which will make employees lose schedule flexibility and may actually have them end up making less money.  Also lot of businesses will not be able to increase the salary of their professional employees to keep them exempt from the new overtime rule."

Additional information about these new overtime guidelines can be found on IAAPA's website.

Additional information about IAAPA's U.S. government relations and advocacy efforts can be found here.

About IAAPA

Founded in 1918, IAAPA is the largest international trade association for permanently located amusement facilities and attractions and is dedicated to the preservation and prosperity of the attractions industry. IAAPA represents nearly 5,000 facility, supplier, and individual members from more than 90 countries. Member facilities include amusement and theme parks, water parks, attractions, family entertainment centers, zoos, aquariums, museums, science centers, resorts, and casinos. IAAPA is a nonprofit organization. The association's global headquarters is in Alexandria, Virginia, United States. The association maintains regional offices in Brussels, Mexico City, Hong Kong, and Orlando. www.IAAPA.org  @IAAPAHQ #IAAPA #IAAPAAdvocates