Casino Workers in Nevada Badly Affected by AG’s Overtime Pay Cut

Does Nevada Mistreat Its Middle-Class Workers With Respect to Overtime Pay?

One issue of concern to many Middle-Class workers in the United States concerns overtime pay (or the lack thereof). The State of Nevada has recently garnered national attention due to a lawsuit filed by the Office of the Nevada Attorney General to block efforts by the federal government to restore rules which previously furnished overtime pay to thousands of workers in the state. The litigation has prevented many poorly paid mid-level managers from receiving the same level of overtime pay currently in effect in adjoining states.

This U.S.-based debate will likely not impact the growing number of online firms offering UK casino slots directly. Yet it may ultimately impact workers employed by many of their brick-and-mortar competitors in Nevada. The issue holds international interest.

Overtime Pay Rules

The federal Fair Labor Standards Act (the “FLSA”) for many years has mandated that, barring an exemption, an employee should receive time-and-a-half rates for working overtime hours in excess of a 40 hour work week.(1) The original purpose of this legislation sought to prohibit exploitation of the labor force. It encourages a 40-hour work week in the United States for “blue collar” workers. The statute created an exemption provision for certain managers and professionals, employees whose higher salaries and greater levels of responsibility would presumably insulate them from unreasonable employer workplace demands.

Unfortunately, over the course of time, the salary threshold for the application of the exemption has not risen. A provision passed during 2004 placed this figure at some $23,660. As a result, a growing number of workers in Nevada, including many low paid casino employees, discovered themselves falling within the salary exemption. They cannot seek time-and-a-half pay rates when an employer asks them to work hours far in excess of a 40-hour work week, despite their comparatively humble salaries.

Nevada Challenges a FLSA Reform

Concerned about the apparent exploitation of many poorly paid managers, the United States Department of Labor (the “DOL”) in 2016 took the unusual step of passing a substantive rule raising the time-and-a-half overtime threshold by almost $20,000. It currently stands at $47,476 annually. This change has permitted thousands of low-level managers in retail outlets and sales organizations to escape the application of the exemption under certain conditions. The complex statute contains a number of specific provisions. Earning a salary versus an hourly wage does not automatically preclude an employee from falling outside the scope of the exemption.(2)

However, the DOL’s decision generated considerable opposition in some circles. A group of officials in 21 states (including Nevada Attorney General Adam Laxalt) sought to oppose the rule change. In 2017, the incoming Trump Administration announced plans to revise the blocked rule, possibly permitting its replacement with a less sweeping measure. The Trump Administration announced in August 2018, it would request public input through “listening sessions” to obtain comments about overtime pay exemption rule changes.(1)

Revised Rules Ahead?

What impact will the proposed rule change exert on the labor supply at Nevada casinos? The outcome must ultimately hinge upon the construction of any new “Overtime Rule”. It awaits the attention of substantive rule makers and concerned citizens.

Experts caution the current FLSA law contains many nuances and complex provisions. For example, the exemption applies to minimum wage workers making outside sales calls, but not to well-paid salaried paramedics or police officers.(2) Predicting the impact of any overtime exemption rule changes for the growing number of online casinos (especially for those offering UK casino slots) appears problematic at best at this early stage.

 

 

 

 

 

Useful Background Information

1. https://www.dol.gov/whd/overtime_pay.htm
2. http://www.theledger.com/news/20180808/law-are-salaried-employees-exempt-from-overtime-pay

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