New overtime rules impact local businesses

Several eastern Washington employers say new overtime rules that take effect of the end of the month could actually lead to layoffs and lower wages.

In this busy, competitive world, work shifts often last more than eight hours. Now, at least some salaried employees will be getting paid for it.

It promises to be one President Barack Obama's living legacies. The president has ordered that salaried employees who make less than $47,000 a year will now get overtime pay when they work it.

"One of two things is going to have to happen. Either the employer has to increase their wage to 47,476 dollars as of December first or they become non-exempt," said attorney Nicole Tedrow.

Tedrow is helping about 500 Spokane-area businesses navigate the new overtime rules.

At Motion Auto Supply, salaried middle managers who don't make $47,000 will have to become hourly workers.

"It's kind of going to have a morale effect. It's going to be the fact they feel more constrained, they're going to feel like there is more oversight going from a salaried position to a time card," said Paul Agather, vice-president business management.

Agather worries the new overtime rules will rob his employees of their autonomy.

At the Arc of Spokane, 16 salaried employees will start punching a time clock, losing some of the flexibility they need to help their disabled clients 24/7.

"Before they might have to work more than 40 hours a week. as an exempt employee we paid them their salary, we didn't pay them additional. now, we will have to pay those employees overtime," said executive director Sima Thorpe.

Thorpe is projecting the new overtime rules will cost the Arc $50,000- $80,000 in extra wages next year and says non-profits will need more support from the community than ever before.

It was President Obama who asked the Department of Labor to institute these new overtime rules. President- Elect Trump could cancel these payroll changes when he takes office in January.