WASHINGTON, D.C., March 18, 2016 — The Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America (IIABA or the Big “I”) today expressed support for the introduction of legislation that would nullify a proposal by the Department of Labor (DOL) governing the “white collar” exemptions to the overtime compensation requirements that exist under the Fair Labor Standards Act.
The “Protecting Workplace Advancement and Opportunity Act,” introduced in the U.S. Senate by Sens. Tim Scott (R-South Carolina) and Lamar Alexander (R-Tennessee), and in the U.S. House of Representatives by Reps. Tim Walberg (R-Michigan) and John Kline (R-Minnesota) reflects growing and widespread concerns about the negative ramifications of the DOL’s proposal.
“As proposed, the rule would drastically raise compliance costs and increase liability for the Big ’I’s’ thousands of small business members, while doing little to modernize complex and out-of-date employment regulations,” says Charles Symington, Big “I” senior vice president of external and government affairs. “We are pleased that Sens. Scott and Alexander and Reps. Walberg and Kline have introduced this legislation to ensure the regulatory process is balanced and responsible.”
The DOL proposal would adjust when certain types of white collar workers can properly be considered “exempt” employees who are not entitled to overtime compensation. Among other issues, the DOL proposal calls for an excessive 113% increase to the salary threshold required to qualify for the white collar exemptions, which would be tied to inflation for the future. The challenges created by imposing such a significant salary threshold increase are compounded by the fact that this adjustment would be applied without regard for the wage, income and cost of living disparities that exist across the country.
“The DOL regulation will have a major impact on many independent insurance agencies and their small business clients, as it would reduce employee flexibility, increase overtime liability and require careful tracking on employee hours as well as annual compliance audits,” continues Symington. “Employees and employers alike are best served with a system that provides clarity for employers and flexibility for employees. We look forward to working in a bipartisan fashion to move this legislation forward.”
Founded in 1896, the Big “I” is the nation’s oldest and largest national association of independent insurance agents and brokers, representing a network of approximately a quarter of a million agents, brokers and their employees nationally. Its members are businesses that offer customers a choice of policies from a variety of insurance companies. Independent agents and brokers offer all lines of insurance—property, casualty, life, health, employee benefit plans and retirement products. Web address: www.independentagent.com.
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