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The Higher Ed Workplace Blog

CUPA-HR CEO Andy Brantley Testifies Before House Subcommittee on Overtime Rule

On February 16, the House Education and the Workforce Subcommittee on Workforce Protections held a hearing entitled “Federal Wage and Hour Policies in the Twenty-First Century Economy” to examine the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and the dramatically transformed workplace since the law’s enactment in 1938.

CUPA-HR President and CEO Andy Brantley was one of four witnesses who appeared before the committee and spoke about the FLSA’s white-collar exemptions. During his remarks, Brantley relayed higher education’s concerns with the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL)’s recent overtime rule and the complicated process institutions underwent in order to comply by the December 1 effective date, while also expressing the importance of a salary update and providing suggestions for moving forward.

Brantley explained that CUPA-HR believes the current salary threshold of $23,660 is overdue for a much-needed increase but more than doubling the threshold to $47,476 would have a tremendous negative impact for professionals in thousands of higher ed positions that clearly meet the duties test for exemption but are paid less than $47,476.

Many proponents of the rule have argued that higher ed’s concerns are overstated, but Brantley explained that despite the rhetoric that such changes could be made with a “flip of the switch,” the interest in CUPA-HR’s FLSA-related webinars, the extraordinary use of other FLSA resources we created and the feedback we received are evidence to the contrary. He went on to offer suggestions for what a reasonable salary threshold might be using numbers from the comments that CUPA-HR and 18 other higher ed associations submitted during DOL’s proposed rule stage.

Additionally, Brantley explained that the federal district court’s temporary injunction issued just days before the rule was set to take effect, although welcome news, has many institutions who had already implemented changes stuck in a sense of limbo and uncertainty, as they are facing pressure to roll back the changes. Finally, Brantley called on the committee for its help to create and implement a more reasonable salary threshold as quickly as possible.

Brantley was joined by three other witnesses at the hearing — Christine V. Walters, the sole proprietor of FiveL Company, an HR and employment law consulting services firm who testified on behalf of the Society for Human Resource Management; Rhea Lana Riner, CEO and founder of Rhea Lana, Inc. and Rhea Lana’s Franchise Systems, who testified on behalf of the International Franchise Association; and Andrew Stettner, a senior fellow at The Century Foundation.

View a recording of the hearing.
Read Brantley’s testimony.
Read Subcommittee Chairman Bradley Byrne’s opening statement.

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