Overtime Rules Don't Change for Most

Article excerpt

Byline: ON THE JOB By Dan Grinfas For The Register-Guard

Question: We are hearing lots of fanfare about changes in overtime rules that took effect on Aug. 23. Should we be doing something different in the way we calculate overtime for our hourly employees?

Answer: No. Almost all employees paid by the hour remain overtime-eligible and must receive time-and-one-half their regular hourly rate for all hours worked in excess of 40 in your designated seven-day workweek.

Question: So what exactly has changed?

Answer: The changes are in the federal regulations that dictate which employees may be classified as "exempt" from overtime.

The new federal "FairPay"overtime rules pertain to the `white collar exemptions' for certain executive, administrative and professional employees, and outside salespersons. The text of the new regulations, at 29 CFR Part 541, is available on the U.S. Department of Labor website at www.dol.gov/esa/regs/fedreg/final/2004009016.htm.

Oregon employers should keep in mind that the state statutes and regulations pertaining to white collar exemptions have not changed as of this date.

Question: Which law is my business required to follow: Oregon or federal?

Answer: Most employers in Oregon have "dual coverage," meaning that they are covered under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, or FLSA, as well as the Oregon wage collection laws in ORS Chapter 652 and the Oregon minimum wage laws in ORS Chapter 653. When there is a conflict between federal and state laws, employers who are subject to both must apply the standard most beneficial to the employee.

For example, the current federal minimum wage is $5.15 per hour, but the 2004 Oregon minimum wage is $7.05 per hour. Oregon employers must follow the stricter state standard and pay the higher minimum wage.

The same concept applies to the rules on overtime and exempt classification. …