A New Look at the 2016 Fair Labor Standards Act Rules for Overtime Pay

Last year, the US Department of Labor briefly put into effect a rule raising the salary requirements for exempt employees to  $47,476 annually, more than doubling the previous levels. That rule was immediately suspended by a federal court. Now, the new Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta says he will not enforce that rule. He is taking a new look at the issue. NNA will provide feedback. We need your help. Please tell us how the rules would have affected you. We also seek your opinion on new rules. 

No individual responses will be used in public comments unless we contact you for consent. 

Thank you! If you have more to say than you can fit onto this page, please write Tonda Rush, tonda@nna.org 

* 1. The change would have affected many newsroom employees who were previously considered exempt (not eligible for overtime pay if they worked more than 40 hours a week.) We would like to know what preparations your company made for newsroom staffers to comply IF the rule had gone into effect.  Please check all that apply.

* 2. Other staff at the newspaper may also have been affected, such as inside sales people or circulation executives. Did you take any action with respect to anyone outside the newsroom?  If so, please describe.

* 3. Did the challenge of handling the new threshold salary create any morale issues on your staff?  Please check all that apply

* 4. In general, what was your reaction as a business leader to the new overtime pay threshold increase to $47,476? 

* 5. In general, what are your main concerns about complying with the Fair Labor Standards Act?  Please rank, with 1 being highest

* 6. With respect to overtime pay eligibility for your newsroom staff, in particular, which corrections to federal law would help your company to fulfill its mission in the community for covering the news? Here are some objectives NNA has considered.  Please rank them, with 1 being highest

* 7. The Labor Department does not consider most community newspaper journalists to be exempt because their work is considered routine, primarily covering meetings and reporting facts. This view grew out of several court opinions in which the real work of local journalists was not well explained.  Thinking about the type of work your journalists do and the skill sets that you require, please describe their work by considering the possibilities below and elaborating as needed.

* 8. Do you have any comments on this topic that will help the NNA Board of Directors to chart a public policy position?

* 9. Are your newspapers NNA members?

* 10. Does your company have fewer than 50 employees?

* 11. Please describe your newspaper ownership structure.

* 12. Please identify yourself. Identities will not be made public but anonymous responses will not be counted. 

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