WASHINGTON — Associated Builders and Contractors Inc. (ABC) applauded the U.S. House of Representatives’ passage of legislation that would delay implementation of the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) Wage and Hour Division’s final overtime rule. The bill, the Regulatory Relief for Small Businesses, Schools, and Nonprofits Act (H.R. 6094), passed the House with bipartisan support by a vote of 246-177 on Sept. 28.

ABC expressed support for the legislation in a letter sent to lawmakers ahead of the vote.

“The new overtime rule will have a long list of unintended consequences for ABC members, including increased labor costs and an undue burden on certain regions of the country,” said Kristen Swearingen, vice president, legislative and political affairs, ABC. “The Department of Labor overstepped its authority in creating this rule, which requires the salary threshold for exempt employees to automatically update every three years. ABC is committed to protecting its members from the burdens and uncertainty created by this rule through every available opportunity.”

ABC, along with a coalition of business groups, filed a lawsuit seeking to overturn the rule Sept. 20 in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas.

ABC also contested the provision of the rule that requires automatic updating of the threshold when announcing its lawsuit. “Construction projects often last longer than three years and are meticulously planned in order to stay on time and within budget,” said Swearingen. “This rule will create uncertainty for contractors and their employees by forcing contractors to speculate about employees’ status years into the future, when work on a project will actually be performed.” 

In addition to the automatic updates of the salary threshold, the rule raises the threshold to $47,468 per year, effective Dec. 1, 2016 — a 100 percent increase from the current level — unless it is delayed or overturned by the courts or through legislation. Sen. James Lankford, R-Oklahoma, introduced a companion bill in the U.S. Senate. 

ABC has been a vocal opponent of the overtime rule since it was released on May 18. In addition to the legal challenge, ABC has also submitted comments, along with more than 900 ABC members, as a member of the Partnership to Protect Workplace Opportunity opposing the rule. 

Publication date: 10/10/2016

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