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SHRM Tells Congress that FLSA is Outdated and Complex Regulations Hinder Flexibility for Employees and Employers

Press Release from Society for Human Resource Management

New OT regulations expected to have adverse effect on workers, HR professional tells U.S. House subcommittee      

June 10, 2015

WASHINGTON, D.C.   — The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) told a U.S. House subcommittee today that the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) is outdated and its complex regulations hinder employers’ ability to provide the flexible work arrangements that many employees want.

Human resource professional Nicole Berberich, SHRM-CP, of Cincinnati told the U.S. House Education & the Workforce Subcommittee on Workforce Protections that the FLSA poses challenges for organizations such as hers that want to offer workplace flexibility. “Most notably, the law prohibits private sector employers from offering nonexempt employees paid time off instead of overtime compensation, even though public sector employees have access to this type of flexibility,” she said.

Testimony is available here.

Berberich, human resources director at the Cincinnati Animal Referral and Emergency Care Center in Ohio, noted that SHRM also believes the FLSA should be modified to allow more employees the flexibility to work a bi-weekly workweek. “Although very successful, bi-weekly workweeks are only available to certain employees,” she said. 

As employers across the country await proposed overtime regulations from the Department of Labor, Berberich testified: “SHRM is concerned that upcoming changes to FLSA overtime regulations will further exacerbate an already complicated set of regulations for employers, particularly small employers. Substantial changes to the overtime regulations could also further limit workplace flexibility for employees.”

Efforts by the Obama administration to modernize FLSA regulations could result in a substantial number of employees being subject to overtime requirements, said Berberich, speaking on behalf of the 275,000-member SHRM. In addition, many exempt employees are expected to lose their exempt status, curtailing access to workplace flexibility offerings.

Berberich said her organization anticipates an impact from changes to FLSA overtime regulations.

She said she already has heard from exempt employees fearful of losing their exempt status and returning to hourly status. “In their eyes, the exempt classification is seen as a promotion, providing a sense of workplace status and greater workplace flexibility to meet work-life needs,” she told the subcommittee’s “Reviewing the Rules and Regulations Implementing Federal Wage and Hour Standards”  hearing.

Full testimony is available at http://www.shrm.org/Advocacy/Documents/6%209%2015%20SHRM%20Statement%20Nicole%20Berberich%20FINAL.pdf.

About the Society for Human Resource Management
Founded in 1948, the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) is the world’s largest HR membership organization devoted to human resource management. Representing more than 275,000 members in over 160 countries, the Society is the leading provider of resources to serve the needs of HR professionals and advance the professional practice of human resource management. SHRM has more than 575 affiliated chapters within the United States and subsidiary offices in China, India and United Arab Emirates.

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