Upcoming changes to rules on overtime pay will impact thousands of Utahns

Posted at 10:02 PM, Jul 09, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-10 00:02:09-04

SALT LAKE CITY -- Keep workers' hours in check or pay the price, that’s the message from the White House when it comes to who is entitled to overtime.

If you're classified as an hourly employee, you should already qualify for overtime pay. But it gets tricky for salaried employees who work more than 40 hours each week.

Starting December 1, the Obama administration is changing that.

“This is going to have a dramatic impact on the salary structure of many, many, many workers,” said Monica Whalen, president of the Utah Employers Council. “Any way you cut it, it’s going to be more in labor costs for the average employer.”

The White House is raising the salary threshold to $47,476, which is nearly double the current threshold of $23,660.

It will affect more than 4.2 million workers, including thousands here in Utah. If you earn more than $23,000 and less than $47,000, and you weren't entitled to overtime pay before, you will be under the new rules.

“I’m trying to get the message out to employers in Utah that some of the bigger complications are these people who weren't used to tracking their time, working through lunch, staying late, all of that is out the window now,” Whalen said. “Managers and supervisors of these non-exempt employees are going to have to really control their hours and make sure they're  keeping track of them accurately."

If the rules play out like the Obama administration hopes, workers will get paid extra money for the overtime they work, or more leisure time because their bosses don't want to pay them for that overtime.

Employers can also raise people's salaries to the new threshold level, or reclassify the workers as non-exempt.

“We really encourage employers to start now, analyzing their jobs, making sure that they're truly exempt, determining who isn't at that salary threshold and decide what their best course of action is to come in to compliance by December 1st,” Whalen said.

The Department of Labor says there are another 8.9 million workers who fall between the old salary threshold and the new one. Their eligibility isn't as clear-cut, as that varies based on their job duties.