WASHINGTON, 2015-9-1 — /EPR Retail News/ — The National Retail Federation today issued the following statement from Senior Vice President for Government Relations David French on the Labor Department’s decision to move forward with the Obama administration’s proposal to expand overtime, denying requests from business groups for an extension to the comment period:
“Today’s announcement by the Department of Labor that it will not extend the comment period for a flawed proposal that has such broad, negative implications for retail businesses large and small across America is astounding. However, no one should be surprised when you consider this administration’s continued assault on business in deference to their friends in organized labor.
“Make no mistake, this is not good policy for job growth and building a middle class. This is purely driven by a political agenda that will ultimately cost jobs, slow the economy and shutter Main Street businesses that cannot afford mandate after mandate written behind closed doors and handed down by a federal bureaucracy that doesn’t understand how to run a successful enterprise, earn a dollar rather than tax one or even balance a budget.
“In its rush to provide feel-good talking points for Labor Day as opposed to writing constructive policy through a process of inclusion, the DOL continues to deconstruct the only engine for growth in a struggling economy.”
NRF said in July that the overtime proposal was too complex for businesses to respond by the DOL’s deadline, set for Friday, and asked for an extension until November.
A study conducted for NRF by research firm Oxford Economics found that the proposal, which would grant overtime eligibility to workers making up to $970 a week rather than the current $455 a week, would cost the restaurant and retail industries alone $8.4 billion a year in added wages if fully implemented. But the study said many employers would offset most of the cost by reducing hours or benefits or using more part-time workers. Nonetheless, employers would see an estimated $745 million in administrative costs even if workers saw no increase in take-home pay.
A separate survey conducted for NRF by the firm GfK found the majority or retail managers oppose the changes, saying that becoming hourly workers would undermine their ability to lead by example.
NRF is the world’s largest retail trade association, representing discount and department stores, home goods and specialty stores, Main Street merchants, grocers, wholesalers, chain restaurants and Internet retailers from the United States and more than 45 countries. Retail is the nation’s largest private sector employer, supporting one in four U.S. jobs – 42 million working Americans. Contributing $2.6 trillion to annual GDP, retail is a daily barometer for the nation’s economy. NRF’s This is Retail campaign highlights the industry’s opportunities for life-long careers, how retailers strengthen communities, and the critical role that retail plays in driving innovation. nrf.com
J. Craig Shearman