St. Landry Chamber of Commerce focuses on new overtime rule

OPELOUSAS, La (KLFY) – The St. Landry Chamber of Commerce held its monthly lunch and learn series Thursday afternoon.

The chamber spoke about a new rule concerning salaried workers and overtime, which will take effect very soon.

The Department of Labor has issued the new rule, The Fair Labor Standards Act, which will increase the minimum salary a person must be paid in order to be exempt from overtime pay.

“Right now it’s $455 per week, that’s going to increase on December 1 to $913 per week,” said attorney Jerry Stovall with Breazeale, Sachse & Wilson, L.L.P.

Stovall says an increase of this sort will happen every three years.

Employers, you might ask how this will affect your salaried workers?

“People you expect to work in the evening, to work from their phone, to work from their iPad, that you really don’t keep track of their hours; those are the people you’re going to either have to raise their pay to continue to qualify them as exempt or start tracking all their time and pay them overtime,” said Stovall.

Stovall wants to stress that doesn’t mean workers have to make more money in order to meet the new standard.

“It doesn’t mean you have to be given a raise,” said Stovall. “It just means if you’re exempt now and your employer wants to continue to qualify you as exempt you have to make at least $913 a week.”

This new rule will impact many businesses nationwide.

“Almost all employers have at least a handful of employees that make less than $913 a week that they now call exempt,” said Stovall.

Including several employers right here in Acadiana.

“I think it’s safe to say that it’s a large portion of Opelousas and St. Landry employees that are affected,” said Raquella Manuel, President/CEO of the St. Landry Chamber of Commerce. “I personally am aware of businesses who are already suffering.”

Manuel says it’s a short time for businesses to fall in line with this new regulation–which is why they’re bringing awareness to the topic now.

“It’s going to take a lot of work on the businesses standpoint and so we want them to kind of get ahead of the game, so that they’re not at fault for their employees in the future,” said Manuel.

For more information on the new overtime rule, click here.

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