Business owners on new overtime regulations: ‘It’s a big deal.’

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By Anna Skinner

The U.S. Dept. of Labor recently announced changes to the federal policy on employees being paid for working overtime hours.

The new regulation states an employee can qualify for overtime pay if they earn a salary of $47,476 or less each year. The ruling will take effect in December.

Up until now, employees had to earn less than $23,660 to qualify.

“What that means is if you have exempt employees falling below the ($47,476) threshold, you have to pay them for overtime or reduce their hours or give them time off, one of the three,” said Jeff Worrell, Carmel city councilor and owner of Advantage Medical. “I have some employees who fall below the threshold and who will occasionally stay late to help a client. They have to be flexible when a customer needs them, so now with this 40-hour rule, we are going to start keeping track of hours and give time off at the end of the week.”

Worrell said he has already had several meetings regarding this new regulation and is contemplating ways to deal with it.

“We are going to establish a way of having salaried employees who fall into that category to keep track of the hours and reconcile by not hurting the business,” he said. “It’s a big deal. One thing recommended to me was to put employees on hourly. I don’t think that’s necessarily great for the employees, so we are going to try to manage it with giving time off.”

Scott Wolf, owner of Wolfie’s Grill in Noblesville, Carmel, Fishers and Westfield, said in the restaurant industry, keeping employees below a strict, 40-hour workweek is tough.

“Most managers work 40-hour workweeks, so it won’t affect us a whole lot, our biggest thing is just making sure they’re not putting in that overtime,” Wolf said. “But it’s going to happen in our industry, so we are either going to have to pay overtime or put them on hourly.”

For more, visit in.gov/dol/2345.htm.

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