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New Fed OT Regulation vs. State Regulation

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  • New Fed OT Regulation vs. State Regulation

    I am an electrical engineer who normally "contracts" my services for short term assignments (2 to 6 months typical) in various states for different employers.

    I am starting to evaluate potential work assignments in New York state, Ohio, and Florida -- and with the advent of the new Federal Overtime Regulation, have some questions.

    At issue, is whether I can continue to obtain overtime pay of (1.5 X) my normal hourly rate. I am not in management, and am classified as an "hourly" employee. Neither am I a member of any union. It is also rare that I ever make more than $ 100,000 annual, unless of course I am fully employed for 12 months at the assignment (at $ 56 per hour, extends to $116 K annual). But normally, there is a lot of "down" time between assignments -- for example, I have currently been out of work for over 4 months.

    For that reason, I depend on the higher OT rate of $ 84 to play a bit of "catch up". And there have been many work assignments, where I did not even work OT, but it was still written into my contract at 1.5 X the standard hourly rate. This not only serves to protect my interests, but also provides a "governing" influence on my employer to perhaps think twice before expecting me to live at their facility to complete a huge workload. Certainly if they authorize the higher rate OT, I usually comply.

    My understanding is that the new Federal Overtime regulation does not immediately take effect in many states. And even so, this Federal rule presents a minimum standard. Which may be superceded by a State regulation which is deemed more "generous". Is this correct ?

    Finally, it would appear to me that I could continue to request overtime pay of 1.5 X my hourly rate (so long as the employer agrees to it in writing, in my contract) -- if it exceeds the minimums as established by the Federal and State OT regulations, which of course it would. After all, it is MY contract. And this has been MY standard (and many other contract engineers) for a number of years now and I do not wish to change it. Nor do I feel that I should.

    My guess is that with the change in regulation, I no longer have legal recourse should the company fail to pay me 1.5 X OT -- and worse, the company could simply decline to hire me if I chose to either say NO to working OT at all ..... or held to my position of being paid 1.5 X the standard hourly rate. Apparently there is no such thing as being "grandfathered" in, based on past employment history of being paid 1.5 X OT ?

    Responses will be very helpful to my current (and future) evaluations of work assignments in various states.

    I have also sent similar inquiries to the Labor Departments of some of these individual states -- to determine their current governing State regulations. I am also awaiting their responses.

  • #2
    Great Questions

    Thanks for the great question. I had to do some additional research for this one, in order to ensure that I fully understand the new overtime regulations.

    First of all, in response to your question of, "the new Federal Overtime regulation does not immediately take effect in many states. And even so, this Federal rule presents a minimum standard. Which may be superceded by a State regulation which is deemed more "generous". Is this correct?" Your statement is partially true. The new standard applies to all states. It's just that in some states, the state law specifically refers to different standards OR refers to the standards used in the former regulations. (I want to ensure that people don't believe that this is a phased in law.) In any case, the more employee "generous" law will supercede. Ohio, Florida and New York are not in conflict with the new regulations...the new federal law is the standard that will be followed, in terms of determining who is exempt from overtime.

    The new federal overtime laws are really changes to who will qualify as exempt or non-exempt. (With non-exempt persons being eligible for overtime.) I don't believe that it will change the policies that do not prohibit a person from signing a contract with a company that will provide additional benefits for working additional hours.

    Finally, yes, there is no such thing as being "grandfathered" in, re: overtime.

    Your questions are very complex. My suggestion is that you discuss your questions with the US DOL Wage and Hour Division. They have a free consultation service, providing callers with answers to short questions. They can be reached at 1-866-4USWAGE.

    Good luck and let me know if you have any other questions that I may assist you with.
    Lillian Connell

    Forum Moderator
    www.laborlawtalk.com

    Comment


    • #3
      Now what about Michigan ?

      Thank you for your response.

      Now considering a new work assignment in Michigan.

      Is this state also subject to the Federal regulation, or is there a superceding state requirement here ?

      Comment


      • #4
        Michigan

        I don't believe that Michigan has state regulations that are not in keeping with the federal law.

        However, I would strongly suggest that you call the US DOL Wage and Hour Division for verification. These are such new regulations and I want to ensure that you have the most current information.
        Lillian Connell

        Forum Moderator
        www.laborlawtalk.com

        Comment

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