New rules from the Department of Labor that govern which em­ployees are eligible for overtime pay take effect on Dec. 1, and truck­stop and travel plaza operators are working to understand how the rules will affect their operations and how they will comply.

“For us out here in the real world it is very difficult to deal with,” said Dan Alsaker, president of Broadway Flying J.

The rules double the minimum salary threshold that employees must earn in order to be exempt from overtime pay, increasing the fig­ure to $47,476 per year ($913 per week), up from the previous salary of $23,660 per year ($455 per week).

“All of our assistant managers fall be­low that threshold, so we have to go back in and rework how we address them. Some of our managers fall be­low that criteria as well, so we’re hav­ing to go back and restructure what we do with their pay,” Alsaker said, add­ing that one of the challenges with the change is it doesn’t take into account the cost of living in certain areas, such as rural towns where many truckstop and travel plaza locations operate.

Under the new rules, employees earning under the threshold are eli­gible for overtime pay of at least 1.5 times their normal salary for all hours worked per week over 40. The salary threshold will be automatically up­dated every three years based on wage inflation, and the change could pres­ent considerable challenges to em­ployees and employers alike.

Those who earn more than this sal­ary threshold are also entitled to over­time pay unless they qualify as “white collar” employees under the Depart­ment of Labor’s “duties test.” NATSO had urged the Department of Labor not make any changes to the “duties test,” which provides sufficient flex­ibility to enable managers and assistant managers to perform ministerial work as needed without forfeiting their exemption from overtime pay.

The distinction between whether an employee’s primary duty is exempt work or non-exempt work is particularly blurry in the truckstop and travel plaza industry, where an outlet manager’s ability to pitch in and help line employees when needed is a key part of the industry’s management culture and necessary to enhance the customer experience. 

Employers will have six options for responding to the new overtime rules. NATSO has outlined each option in an in-depth toolkit on its website.

Options include:

  • Increase the employees’ salaries by the amount necessary to reach the new salary threshold.
  • Limit employees to 40 hours per week and assign additional work to other employees, including potentially hiring more employees.
  • Simply pay time-and-a-half overtime pay for all hours above 40 hours per week.
  • Increase the number of hours to which a salary is tied.

  • Decrease employees’ pay
 so their new payments with overtime match their previous salary.
  • Utilize a fluctuating workweek method
 in which the employee’s rate of pay will vary based on the number of hours worked. 

Alsaker is concerned that several of the options will have a deflation effect among employees who were salaried and are moved to hourly. “Salaries are how we build on our careers and how we advance. Now we’re yanking the salary away and making them hourly,” he said.

Bob Wollenman, owner of Deluxe Truck Stop, said most of his employees are hourly, so the change will have little effect on his location, but he noted that “the people writing the rules have no first-hand experience with what is going on out in the world.”

Alsaker said complying with the shift is creating a difficult, internal struggle for the location, but he will find a solution. “We will be creative. We will rebound, figure it out and make it work,” he said.

Learn more!  NATSO’s Vice President, Government Relations, Legislative and Regulatory Counsel David Fialkov has written a regulatory toolkit on this issue. Download NATSO’s full guide to the overtime rules at;

via Business Feeds

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