There’s good and bad news for radio station employees in new rules adopted by the U.S. Labor Department, and it all depends on what role someone has at the station. Labor has kept in place an existing carve-out that outside sales employees are exempt from overtime pay requirements. But for many others, the decision to raise the standard by which a full-time employee are eligible for extra pay could mean more money in their pocket.
Under currently enforced law, employees with a salary below $455 per week or $23,660 a year must be paid overtime if they work more than 40 hours per week. That threshold was last revised in 2004. Now in a move that the Labor Department says better reflects modern day pay scale, it has raised that to $684 per week or $35,568 per year. The move does include exempt administrative, executive and professional employees who earn less than what would be eligible for overtime pay, when anyone in a white collar position works more than 40 hours in a work-week.
To help ease the burden on business owners, the limit would be lifted from $100,000 to $107,432 per year—for so-called “highly compensated employees” that are exempt from overtime rules. The government would also allow a company to use nondiscretionary bonuses and incentive payments, including commissions, to satisfy up to 10% of the standard salary level.
Acting U.S. Secretary of Labor Patrick Pizzella said the rules, which were laid out in a 245-page order, bring a “commonsense approach” to overtime pay as well as “clarity and prosperity” for workers. The new overtime policy will become effective Jan. 1, 2020.
Previous overtime revisions adopted by the Obama administration that would have raised the cap even higher were struck down in a federal appeals court. The Trump administration opted to take a more modest approach. Nevertheless the Labor Dept. estimates 1.3 million more Americans will be eligible for overtime pay. It also estimates that an additional 101,800 workers will be entitled to overtime pay as a result of the increase to the highly compensated employee levels.
It is unclear how many people working in radio could be helped by the new overtime threshold. But under the previous more robust proposal, the Labor Department calculated 385,000 broadcasters, or 8.2% of those working in radio and television, could benefit.
Bureau of Labor statistics says 83,670 people worked in radio as of May 2018. The data also showed the average person working in radio was paid $19.05 per hour. And the average wage was $56,550.