From labor disputes cases to labor and employment publications, for your research, you’ll find solutions on Bloomberg Law®. Protect your clients by developing strategies based on Litigation...
By Chris Opfer
Oct. 15 — Among the assorted business, worker and professional groups to weigh in on the Labor Department's proposed rule to expand overtime pay for workers, one of the more unexpected players is an organization representing some of the country's best golfers.
The new overtime rule (RIN 1235–AA11) would make some 5 million additional workers eligible for time-and-a-half pay for all hours worked in excess of 40 per week. It would limit the “white collar” exemption for certain management and professional employees by more than doubling the salary limit for automatic overtime eligibility to $50,440 per year from $23,660.
The Professional Golfers' Association recently hired lobbying firm Crossroads Strategies LLC to urge lawmakers and the DOL to tweak the proposed overtime rule. The golfers want certain fees and commissions included when considering whether a worker exceeds the exemption's salary threshold. If the fees and commissions that many PGA members earn for giving golf lessons isn't included in the calculation, the group says, those workers could actually see their paychecks shrink. That's because club owners will simply pocket the money and increase the golfers' salaries slightly above the new threshold level, they say.
“We strongly encouraged the U.S. Department of Labor to take a broader approach on how it proposes to define compensation,” PGA Chief Operating Officer Darrell Crall told Bloomberg BNA via e-mail Oct. 15. “The proposed rule takes a one-size-fits-all approach to salary income and does not consider the differing compensation systems in varied industries.”
The association's 27,000 members are golf professionals trained through an accredited apprenticeship or college program or who opt out of training requirements by passing a written exam. The PGA also organizes or sponsors a number of high-stakes annual tournaments on the professional golf circuit.
The Labor Department received some 250,000 public comments on the overtime rule. That includes a list of concerns submitted jointly by the PGA, the Club Managers Association of America, the Golf Course Superintendents of America, the National Golf Course Owners Association and the National Club Association.
The groups said many of the golf and tennis professionals employed at clubs across the country may be paid salaries below the proposed threshold, but their total earnings are significantly higher when accounting for the “lesson fees, program fees and commissions” that they get for giving training sessions. That arrangement could change if the new rule goes into effect as proposed, they said.
“For example, a club might increase base salary above the exemption level, but will retain lesson and program fees, thus limiting the earning potential of these employees,” the groups wrote. “In addition, currently exempt employees may be converted to an hourly basis and limited in their hours to conduct lessons or programs.”
At present, the DOL includes salaries, hourly pay and some fees in determining whether a worker meets the current threshold for exempt status. When it unveiled the proposed rule in June, the DOL asked stakeholders to weigh in on whether it should also consider commissions.
The PGA and other golf industry organizations also reiterated some of the concerns about the proposed rule that have been regularly raised by business groups. They said the regulation doesn't take into account regional cost-of-living differences and warned that increased payroll costs could force clubs to shed jobs, particularly in an industry where hours and revenue vary widely by season.
A DOL spokesman didn't immediately respond to Bloomberg BNA's request for comment.
To contact the reporter on this story: Chris Opfer in Washington at email@example.com
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Susan J. McGolrick at firstname.lastname@example.org
All Bloomberg BNA treatises are available on standing order, which ensures you will always receive the most current edition of the book or supplement of the title you have ordered from Bloomberg BNA’s book division. As soon as a new supplement or edition is published (usually annually) for a title you’ve previously purchased and requested to be placed on standing order, we’ll ship it to you to review for 30 days without any obligation. During this period, you can either (a) honor the invoice and receive a 5% discount (in addition to any other discounts you may qualify for) off the then-current price of the update, plus shipping and handling or (b) return the book(s), in which case, your invoice will be cancelled upon receipt of the book(s). Call us for a prepaid UPS label for your return. It’s as simple and easy as that. Most importantly, standing orders mean you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you’re relying on. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.960.1220 or by sending an email to email@example.com.
Put me on standing order at a 5% discount off list price of all future updates, in addition to any other discounts I may quality for. (Returnable within 30 days.)
Notify me when updates are available (No standing order will be created).
This Bloomberg BNA report is available on standing order, which ensures you will all receive the latest edition. This report is updated annually and we will send you the latest edition once it has been published. By signing up for standing order you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you need. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.372.1033, option 5, or by sending us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Put me on standing order
Notify me when new releases are available (no standing order will be created)