How the New Overtime Law Will Effect Remote Working, Hiring, and More

By Chelsea Babin

Starting on December 1st millions more Americans will be eligible for overtime pay. If you’re a salaried worker making less than $47,476 each year the new law says that you’ll be required to be paid overtime for every hour you work that exceeds 40 hours a week. With this news comes a lot of speculation about how this new law will affect both employees and employers and, although nothing can be verified until December rolls around, here are a few ways the new overtime law will affect various aspects of your work life.

1. Reduce or Eliminate Remote Work: Partial telecommuting or telecommuting in general is probably dead thanks to this new law. Unfortunately, if an employee earns less than the new overtime threshold there will be an increased need for supervision and, if you’re working remotely, it’s hard to verify that the extra hours you worked were necessary. Now that overtime pay is federally required most employers will try to reduce the amount of overtime their employees work unless it is absolutely necessary and, unfortunately, that’s hard to do with people who are working remotely.

2. Tracking Your Work: Get ready to write down everything you’re doing at all times! If you fall under the income threshold and often work more than 40 hours a week most employers will need to verify that the extra hours you’re working are absolutely necessary. That means that you’ll need to keep a record of what you’re working on not just when you’re working overtime but also when you’re working the rest of your 40 hours a week so there’s a record to show that there’s no time wasted. Ironically, this tedious task may seem necessary but it will certainly take more of your time.

3. Hiring More People or Giving Raises: This law will back some employers, particularly retail employers who rely on low paid “managers” to work 60 or more hours a week, to either hire more people to cover those extra hours or raise their employee’s salaries above the threshold. This is probably the intent of the law and, for employers in industries where this practice is commonplace; there will be a lot of changes coming in December.

4. A More Litigious Workforce: While the intent behind this law is great it’s not necessarily enforceable and, when some employers inevitably attempt to ignore the practice, there are bound to be more employees suing their current and former employers for denying them the wages that they’re due. Unfortunately the people who this law applies to make less than $47,476 per year so you won’t have much money to be litigious and the fear of other employers not hiring them because they sued a former employer may discourage the practice for most people. That being said some people will go for it anyways so we can expect a more litigious workforce starting in December!

5. Productivity More Important Than Ever: Let’s face it, most employers won’t want to give raises or hire more people so the only other option is to try and optimize their employee’s productivity even more than before. After all, if you’re more productive you can get more done within a 40 hour period of time! This thought process will give an edge to employees who naturally work quickly and, to those who need more time to accomplish a task, it could be a rough road that may end in lay offs or firing.

6. Higher Salaries: If you’re looking to get hired and your salary expectations rest right around the new overtime threshold employees will probably be eager to get you over the $47,476 mark to avoid the hassles that overtime pay creates on their end. Additionally, if you’re looking to get a raise at the end of this year and your salary is close but under the threshold you might be facing an easier road than normal to getting your raise!

Although there are still several months before the new overtime law goes into effect there are some obvious consequences and plusses visible in our near future. If you make more than $47,476 per year this law might not directly affect you but, as remote work is discouraged and tracking what you’re doing as well as being as productive as you can be is encouraged, it’s easy to see how all employees and employers can expect some changes come December 1st.