March is go time for congress on the matter of raising the bar for overtime compensation. As it stands today if a supervisory or management level employee earns a salary of at least $23,660 (or $455 a week) their employer does not have to compensate their overtime work by claiming them exempt, since they are not hourly employees. In 40 years this number has only been raised once in our rapidly and continuously inflating economy. In reconsideration of this standard, companies may be compensating employees that make up to $52,000 dollars a year for over time, that’s more than double where we stand today.
In retail management a lack in compensation for all our efforts and overtime are required and go often without appreciation. We work for free on average 20 hours a week over the holidays, and about 10 hours all other times of the year. As a district manager I was only compensated $35,000 a year working in my stores 8:00am-10:00pm plus the time spent physically traveling. It was not only the holidays that I was required long uncompensated hours; there was a July that I literally only saw my apartment a total of five days. This is time I missed out with my step-son and my fiancé, on weekend trips, and nightly dinners. These extreme hours from monthly mandatory visits to my 13 individual stores across the span of five seperate states made it utterly impossible for me to return to my career upon the birth of my daughter. Overtime was something that could not replace the time I missed, but it would have at least been a monetary gain for the betterment of my family. Overtime compensation perhaps would have forced my employers to reduce my working hours, allowing me to have a stable home life without overwhelming demands on my time from them.
As brilliant and wonderful as this all may sound, what does this really mean for the retail career if this does go into affect? In a years time our employers have been asked to provide all full time employees with highly inflated insurance, many have been required or publically shamed into raising their minimum wage by almost double what it was last year, and now they will be asked to offer time and a half pay to their managerial salaried employees. In efforts to continue, profit compromises will have to be made, will those compromises really in the end be worth all that we actually gained?
- “Contrary to the Goal of Job Creation” -NRF
All costs implemented at once are going to impede the affordability of hiring more employees. Instead of encouraging companies to create jobs and foster growth of employment opportunities for all.
- Possible Removal of Motivational Bonus Programs & Commission.
In exchange for management’s excessive hours put in they were offered a limitless earning potential through their quality rather than quantity of work. If management is otherwise mandatorily compensated for their time, employers will most likely do away with large motivational incentives.
- A Narrowed Opportunity for Job Advancement
Retail has been such an easy career for performance-based advancement. If Shelby was a good worker and had great stats then she was a shoe in for management; she didn’t need tenure, outside experience, or education because the investment in Shelby was not so incredibly expensive. Now with it being such a greater cost risk to promote companies will look more outside the company for experience then within the company for advancement.
- A Stall or Shrink of Company Growth
The huge boom of retail that was expected with the increasing economy will be less likely be as large as we expected when employers have such high additional costs upon investing to consider.
- Hands Off Management could Lead to More Unhappy Customers
To remain exempt 50% of managers time must be utilized solely of supervision. This means no more hopping on the registers for Assistant Managers, no more helping to stock shelves for store managers. This will result in longer lines at the register, customers going without aid when shorthanded, and the lack in motivation and steam accumulated by associates from the assistance and energy their manager creates on the sales floor 100% of the time.
All these matters were vital and needed to be addressed. Did congress become too generous? Did insurance companies take too high of an advantage? Did the government place too many dramatic changes in mandates at once?