Labor Department “Wait and See” Approach on Overtime is Unacceptable

By Staff Report

Aug. 19, 2004

Some employers are taking their time in figuring out how to comply with the U.S. Department of Labor’s new overtime regulations. Howard Radzely, the Labor Department’s head of litigation, tells The News & Observer, which covers the Raleigh, North Carolina area, “That might not be a wise decision.”

“We will begin enforcing these new rules starting Monday,” Radzely says. “Those who take a wait-and-see approach will likely be visited by a compliance officer if we get a complaint.”

In Raleigh, 60 employees at WakeMed, a hospital, will now get overtime, including some who work in the hospital’s recreational facility, according to Jeanene Martin, WakeMed’s senior vice president of human resources.

The News & Observer reports that at the cardiology practice of Capital Heart Associates, some employees may lose overtime protection. At Rex Healthcare, a couple of employees in the IT department will also lose their non-exempt status.

Many employers apparently haven’t performed the self-audits that these Raleigh companies have. The Post and Courier, a Charleston, South Carolina, newspaper, surveyed employees last week and found that “most had no clue the new overtime regulations are coming.” And a spokesman for 200,000-employee Verizon tells the Boston Herald that “This is such a complex issue we are still studying it.”

The new overtime rules, simplifying exempt-or-not-exempt decisions, go into effect on Monday, August 23. Jeff Joerres, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Manpower, tells the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that the new rules are simpler than the current regulations. “It’s a good thing overall,” he says. “It makes the law much clearer and simpler. From that perspective, it will make life a little easier for us.”

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