Comments from NFIB members needed to help shape negotiations, influence final rule decision
Small-business owners celebrated when a Texas federal court struck down an Obama-era proposal to update the so-called “overtime rule” in November 2016.
That federal rule change would have increased the weekly earning threshold from $455 to $913 to determine whether a salaried worker or commissioned salesperson was exempt from overtime, minimum wage, and certain other requirements.
Washington state has not significantly changed its overtime rule, known here as “Minimum Wage Exemptions for Executive, Administrative, and Professional (EAP) Employees” since it was adopted in 1976. The current salary threshold to be exempt from overtime in our state is $250 per week. That’s equal to $6.25 hourly – less than half of the state’s $13.50 minimum wage when Initiative 1433 takes full effect on January 1, 2020.
At the request of state Sen. Karen Keiser and Rep. Mike Sells, respectively chairwoman and chairman of the Senate and House labor committees, the Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) has begun its own rulemaking process to review and update the state EAP rules, found in WAC 296-128. NFIB is part of the stakeholder group meeting to negotiate the rule change.
We suspect many stakeholders, including Big Labor, Working Washington, and other progressive groups will push the department to increase the salary threshold well above the current federal level, despite our concerns that L&I may lack the legal authority to do so.
NFIB submitted comments May 1, 2018, with our initial feedback regarding the scope and content of the proposed rulemaking process. Those comments can be viewed here.
L&I has created an online engagement site, complete with a project timeline, to keep the public informed about the rule-making process. That site also allows business owners, workers, and other interested parties to comment. Keep in mind, there is a lag between when comments are submitted and posted. This is due to the department’s review process.
NFIB members should strongly consider monitoring this process and commenting through the department’s online engagement site. Those comments will help shape stakeholder debate and could influence the outcome of the final rule proposal.
For more information about NFIB’s comments, or this rule-making process, send an email to NFIB Washington State Director Patrick Connor or call him at 360-786-8675.