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Department of Labor's Proposed Rule on Overtime Will Adversely Affect Tribal Governments

September 1, 2015

Submit Comments on DOL Overtime Rule

The Department of Labor is requesting comments on a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM). The NPRM outlines pending regulations to raise the salary threshold at which eligible workers qualify for overtime pay from $23,660 to $50,440. NAFOA strongly encourages tribal governments to submit comments before the due date of September 4, 2015.

Areas of Concern for Tribal Governments:

1.

NAFOA has heard from tribal governments who are concerned the use of a single national salary threshold would adversely affect already limited revenues, especially for tribes in rural areas. 

2.

The increased threshold sets a one-size-fits-all standard. The average salary offered by many tribal governments and enterprises is substantially lower than the national average.

3.

Even though the proposed rule will directly and disproportionately affect tribal governments, there has been no consultation on this rule-making. 

4.

The proposed rule was created to make improvements for employees in the for-profit sector. It would "transfer income from employers to employees in the form of higher earnings." For tribes however, the threshold increase can potentially reduce tribal funding available for social services such as education and healthcare.

5.

Many tribal employees currently qualify as exempt from overtime eligibility because their annual salary is greater than $23,660. Under the proposal, tribal leaders and other senior level managers would be re-classified as overtime-eligible because of their salary level. To manage payroll costs, the change will force some tribes to pay closer attention to hours worked by overtime-eligible employees, including how to handle work completed out-of-the-office, such as travel, off-hour council meetings, participating in community events under the capacity of the tribe, and responding to emails in the evening.

6.

Currently the proposed rule exempts lawyers, teachers, medical doctors, and outside sales employees only. If the DOL considers changing the duties test, it should include common job roles in governments.

For questions or comments please contact Jennifer Parisien at Jennifer@nafoa.org  or (202) 558-8040. 

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