NRF welcomes new overtime regulations

The National Retail Federation today welcomed the Department of Labor’s release of new federal white-collar overtime regulations. The long-sought update should help put an end to costly litigation from disputed overtime decisions, the retail trade associations said in a statement.

“The Department of Labor has given us the first comprehensive update of overtime regulations in half a century,” says Katherine Lugar, NRF VP for legislative and political affairs. “That is a victory unto itself, regardless of the details. Employers have spent too many years trying to shoehorn modern jobs into regulations that haven’t been updated since Elvis was a teenager. We’ve finally got regulations that will mean something in the 21st century workplace.”

Lugar cautioned that NRF has not had time to fully review the just-released regulations but that the update was certain to be an improvement over existing rules. DOL, which released a draft of updated Fair Labor Standards Act regulations in March 2003, unveiled the final version of the regulations at a news media briefing in Washington this morning.

“The problem that employers have had is that the old overtime rules were vague, outdated, and confusing,” Lugar said. “The lack of clarity has made it difficult to know that you’re making the correct decision about who gets overtime and who doesn’t. That created a gold mine for trial lawyers trolling for clients they could convince to sue their bosses. This update should give us the clarity to know for certain who should get overtime and put an end to that explosion of lawsuits.”

The National Retail Federation is the world’s largest retail trade association, with membership that comprises all retail formats and channels of distribution including department, specialty, discount, catalog, Internet, and independent stores as well as the industry’s key trading partners of retail goods and services. NRF represents an industry with more than 1.4 million U.S. retail establishments, more than 23 million employees – about one in five American workers – and 2003 sales of $3.8 trillion. As the industry umbrella group, NRF also represents more than 100 state, national, and international retail associations.