New federal overtime rules results in pay raises for 3 at JFS

LISBON — New federal overtime rules have resulted in a Columbiana County government agency granting pay raises to three of the 13 supervisory employees who would be affected by the changes.

County commissioners on Wednesday acted on the recommendation of county Department of Job and Family Services Director Eileen Dray-Bardon by granting pay raises of 4.5 percent and 9 percent to three supervisors in the Children Services division in response to the new federal overtime threshold.

The law allows employees to exempt workers from the overtime law if they earn more than $23,660 per year and are classified as performing administrative and managerial duties. Under new federal wage regulations that take effect Dec. 1, any currently salaried employee who makes less than $47,476 per year but performs supervisory duties is entitled to overtime pay if they work more than 40 hours per week. The threshold has not been increased in decades.

The rule, which does not apply to every type of worker, is the subject of a federal lawsuit filed by business organizations and 20 states, including Ohio. The lawsuit did not include a request for an injunction, so there should be no delay in implementation of the rule while the court decides the matter.

Dray-Bardon said she has 13 employees who fall into this category, but she only recommended pay raises be granted to the three Children Services supervisors who are on call around the clock. Two of the employees with more years of service will receive 4.5 percent raises to get them to $47,476, while a less-tenured supervisor will see her pay increase by 9 percent.

These supervisors work 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and then take calls after hours from case workers in the field. Dray-Bardon said it would be easier from an administrative perspective to simply raise their salaries to the new threshold than have them keep track of the time spent on the phone or online. “It would be a bureaucratic nightmare,” Dray-Bardon said.

The salaries of the other 10 JFS employees performing administrative/managerial duties will remain the same, with Dray-Bardon saying they generally only work 40 hours per week and it would be cheaper to pay them overtime when needed than increase their pay to $47,476.

Commission Chairman Mike Halleck said after the meeting he was not aware of any other county offices facing the same predicament.

“We were briefed on this this past summer and there’s very little overtime with (courthouse) offices anyway” because most supervisors are already making more than $47,476, he said. “I think it will have very little impact on us.”