Make us your home page
Instagram

A Tampa employment law attorney explains changes coming to overtime regulations

Employment attorney Christine Howard of Fisher & Phillips

Employment attorney Christine Howard of Fisher & Phillips

Change is coming for an estimated 330,000 Florida workers who earn between $23,660 and $47,476 a year.

New Department of Labor regulations announced last month double the pay threshold for overtime protection, effective Dec. 1. That means salaried workers, as in those who worked 40 hours or more a week and are not paid overtime, have to be paid at least $47,476 a year. The current floor is $23,660.

That sounds pretty straightforward, but the situation is a lot more complex than that, says attorney Christine Howard in the Tampa office of Fisher & Phillips, an employment law firm.

Some employees may have their hours cut. Others will have to start tracking their hours for the first time.

However, dishing out raises doesn't necessarily mean an employee is exempt from overtime. Some workers making more than, say $50,000 a year may still qualify for overtime.

Previous coverage: New Labor Department overtime rule expected to jolt Florida workplace

Howard is urging employers to comb through these new regulations and communicate with their employees over the next six months. She broke down some of these changes in a recent interview with the Tampa Bay Times.

What can employees expect with the new rules?

Many employees who were once salary exempt and did not have to record their time are now going to find they are on-the-clock employees and fill out time sheets.

Employers will look at the salary these employees currently earn. They're going to have to come up with an hourly rate that fits in line with the salary they had and includes any overtime cost. For some people who are close to $40,000, many employers will increase their pay. This will help certain employees, and it will hurt other employees

Beyond the pay rate, can you explain the circumstances that qualify an employee for a salaried position?

First, there's the executive exemption (to being paid overtime) for employees in management positions. It's if they have direct supervision over two or more full-time employees and if their pay is lower than the minimum level ($47,476). If their primary duty is management they may be impacted. If their manager can't increase their salaries to this threshold they may be demoted.

Then, there is an administrative exemption. This is for employees performing office or non-manual work who have discretion and independent judgment on matters of significance. If you're a buyer and you're able to negotiate a pricing contract on your judgement, you may fall under this category.

A high-level executive assistant is another example. Not an assistant or secretary, but someone who is actually making important decision on who their manager or officer has visits with. Their function is critical to making key decisions on who gets a face-to-face meeting, for example.

What is your advice for business owners, executives and human resource managers as they adjust to this change?

Employers should take an opportunity to look at their job classifications and the exemption tests. These regulations don't take effect until December but it's a process.

Communication will be key to avoid lawsuits so they can appreciate why these changes are being made and so they can understand why they're being converted to hourly. I can't emphasize enough that companies need to look at this now in order to comply with the change by Dec. 1. Mis-classification is a very common lawsuit in Florida.

Contact Alli Knothe at aknothe@tampabay.com. Follow @KnotheA.

A Tampa employment law attorney explains changes coming to overtime regulations 06/13/16 [Last modified: Monday, June 13, 2016 11:00am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. At Menorah Manor, planning paid off during Irma

    Nursing Homes

    ST. PETERSBURG — Doris Rosenblatt and her husband, Frank, have lived in Florida all of their lives, so they know about hurricanes.

    Raisa Collins, 9, far left, works on a craft project as Certified Nursing Assistant Shuntal Anthony holds Cassidy Merrill, 1, while pouring glue for Quanniyah Brownlee, 9, right, at Menorah Manor in St. Petersburg on Sept. 15. To help keep its patients safe during Hurricane Irma, Menorah Manor allowed employees to shelter their families and pets at the nursing home and also offered daycare through the week. The facility was able to accommodate and feed everyone who weathered the storm there. [LARA CERRI   |   Times]
  2. After Irma, nursing homes scramble to meet a hard deadline

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — Florida's nursing homes and assisted-living facilities find themselves in an unfamiliar place this week — pushing back against Gov. Rick Scott's administration over new rules that require them to purchase generator capacity by Nov. 15 to keep their residents safe and comfortable in a power …

    In this Sept. 13 photo, a woman is transported from The Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills as patients are evacuated after a loss of air conditioning due to Hurricane Irma in Hollywood. Nine have died and patients had to be moved out of the facility, many of them on stretchers or in wheelchairs. Authorities have launched a criminal investigation to figure out what went wrong and who, if anyone, was to blame. [Amy Beth Bennett | South Florida Sun-Sentinel via AP]
  3. Trigaux: How Moffitt Cancer's M2Gen startup won $75 million from Hearst

    Business

    TAMPA — A Moffitt Cancer Center spin-off that's building a massive genetic data base of individual patient cancer information just caught the attention of a deep-pocketed health care investor.

    Richard P. Malloch is the president of Hearst Business Media, which is announcing a $75 million investment in M2Gen, the for-profit cancer informatics unit spun off by Tampa's Moffitt Cancer Center. Malloch's job is to find innovative investments for the Hearst family fortune. A substantial amount has been invested in health care, financial and the transportation and logistics industries.
  4. Three-hour police standoff ends, thanks to a cigarette

    News

    TAMPA — A man threatening to harm himself was arrested by Tampa police on Tuesday after a three-hour standoff.

  5. Another Hollywood nursing home resident dies. It's the 9th in post-Irma tragedy.

    State Roundup

    The Broward County Medical Examiner's office is investigating another death of a resident of the Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills — the ninth blamed on the failure of a cooling system that became a stifling deathtrap three days after Irma hit.

    Carlos Canal, pictured at 47 years old, came to Miami from Cuba in 1960. Above is his citizenship photo. [Courtesy of Lily Schwartz]