Can Georgia's Small Businesses Afford New Salary Rules? Not Likely
Matt Simpson’s article “Can Georgia's Small Businesses Afford New Salary Rules? Not Likely” was featured in Augusta Chronicle on September 12, 2015.
The public comment period recently closed on a U.S. Department of Labor proposal to dramatically raise the minimum salary threshold for exempt employees. These revisions to the so-called “white collar” exemptions will more than double the minimum salary threshold necessary for an employee to maintain exempt status – from the current $23,660 per year to a projected $50,440.
This is a substantial increase by any measure and tough for businesses to swallow. But in the eyes of many of Georgia’s small businesses, the new rules could be crippling – particularly those outside metro Atlanta or engaged in lower-wage industries such as child care, hospitality and public administration.
The rationale behind the proposed rules change, according to Labor Secretary Tom Perez, is that existing overtime rules have “eroded over the years,” leaving no guarantee that employees will receive fair pay “for a long, hard day’s work,” and overtime wages “for the extra hours on the job and away from their families.” The proposed regulations therefore purport to “extend overtime protections to about 5 million workers.”
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