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CUPA-HR Leads Meeting With White House Officials on Overtime Proposal

CUPA-HR OMB 4-19-16On April 19, representatives from CUPA-HR and other higher education associations met with government officials to discuss higher ed’s concerns with the Department of Labor (DOL)’s overtime proposal as the rule enters its last stage of internal review by federal agencies. Our 16-person group met with officials from the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB), DOL and the president’s Domestic Policy Council (DPC) in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building (located alongside the White House), where we were given an extra half-hour to walk the agencies through the complications of DOL’s proposal as it pertains to higher education.

Andy Brantley, CUPA-HR’s president and CEO, began the meeting by presenting data from the association’s 2015-16 Professionals in Higher Education Salary Survey, which found that 47 common professional-level positions in higher ed fall within the window of having their status changed from exempt to nonexempt should the proposed change be fully implemented.

Brantley was followed by Terry Hartle and Matt Owens, who head the government relations teams for American Council on Education and the Association of American Universities, respectively; Karin Johns of National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities (NAICU), and Andrew Morse of NASPA – Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education. This conversation paved the way for six CUPA-HR members (Chris Byrd of University of South Carolina, Linda Peltier of Edison State Community College, Lynn Bynum of Bellarmine University, Linda Harber of George Mason University, Brenda Malone of Georgetown University and Jodi Gentry of University of Florida) to discuss the impact of DOL’s proposal on their specific institutions, to present OMB with estimates of the implementation costs and to explain the unique nature of many higher education positions — especially with regards to the impracticality and near impossibility of calculating hours for post-doctoral researchers, residence life staff and coaches.

Members of NASPA and NAICU also spoke to the severity of DOL’s proposal in the face of a state budget impasse and the harsh reality that if DOL does not rework its proposal, it will harm many higher education employees, many of whom could lose their jobs as institutions are forced to cut costs and services in order to keep their doors open.

The representatives from OMB and DPC posed questions after nearly every statement from our group, indicating that the Administration is indeed concerned about the impact of the proposed rule on higher education. However, as OMB is prohibited from discussing a rule while under review, there is no indication to what extent, if any, changes will be made when then final rule is published, which we  expect to happen before May 16 (with an implementation deadline of September 5).

As always, keep an eye on the CUPA-HR website for news and updates regarding the overtime regulations.

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