Communication Tips and FAQs for Overtime Rules
The Department of Labor (DOL) released a new rule regarding overtime pay requirements In May 2016. Currently, employees who meet certain criteria are eligible for overtime pay if they make less than $23,660 per year—under the new rule, this amount would increase to $47,476 per year.
Given the significant impact the new rule could have on employee satisfaction, developing an effective communication plan is key. The earlier you start, the better. Employees may have already heard news about the overtime changes, so it is important to get ahead of any rumors and reduce employee anxiety and stress by presenting the facts and informing them about upcoming changes.
Depending on the size of your company and the scale of the changes, you may want to form a small group dedicated to managing communications. The group may include individuals from the marketing, public relations, human resources, accounting and legal departments as well as the executive team. Identify a point person for questions (often a human resources professional), and make sure this person’s name and contact information is available on all communications.
Educate department heads and front-line managers on changes. Employees may ask initial questions to their direct supervisors, so make sure these individuals are prepared and know how they can escalate questions if necessary.
To ensure that your message is reaching your employees, use a wide variety of communication platforms—including email, intranet postings, group or individual meetings, PowerPoint presentations and social media. When crafting your message, consider the following strategies:
- Explain the “why.” In addition to providing an overview of the new overtime rule, explain why changes are being made and how these changes will support the company’s goals.
- Be transparent and honest in your message. Don’t sugarcoat things, but try to be positive (even if benefits are being cut). Make sure to emphasize that each employee and the work he or she does is appreciated.
- Avoid legal jargon. Avoid getting into too many legal or technical details since this may confuse employees. Keep language simple and straightforward.
- Provide an FAQ. Consider putting together a list of frequently asked questions so employees have an easy resource they can reference for their questions. This may also help reduce the amount of emails or questions human resources professionals will get on the issue.
The following is a list of common questions you may get from employees regarding the new overtime rule and some sample responses. Please note that some of these pieces will require customization.
1. What is the new overtime rule?
On May 18, 2016, the DOL released a new rule regarding overtime pay requirements. Currently, employees who meet certain criteria are eligible for overtime pay if they make less than $23,660 per year—under the new rule, this amount would increase to $47,476 per year.
2. How will this affect me?
The new rule may impact whether you are eligible for overtime pay. This determination would be based on a variety of factors, including your annual salary and the type of work you perform.
3. I work over 40 hours a week now; why don’t I get overtime?
Under federal law, not all employees are eligible or overtime if they work more than 40 hours in a workweek. For instance, if you have a certain type of job (like outside sales or computer employees), or currently make more than $23,660 per year (would be changed to $47,476 under the new rule), you are likely not eligible for overtime pay.
4. When does the new rule go into effect?
The new overtime rule will go into effect on Dec. 1, 2016. is doing everything we can now to prepare for this change and ensure a smooth transition.