ARLINGTON, VIRGINIA, U.S. — The American Feed Industry Association (AFIA) expressed disappointment with the U.S. Department of Labor's final overtime rule, published on May 18, stating the department's consideration of the feed industry's comments is not apparent in the end result. The Obama administration initiative makes 4.2 million workers newly eligible to receive overtime pay. 
 
AFIA submitted comments – 270,000 public comments were submitted in total – to the department in September 2015. The association asked the Department of Labor to take businesses located in rural America into further account, as many of AFIA's members are located in rural areas where competitive salaries are not comparable to metropolitan wages.
 
The Department of Labor’s final rule marginally decreased the salary threshold in the final rule versus what was proposed, from $50,440 annually to $47,476 annually. The salary threshold will automatically update every three years based on wage growth over time, increasing predictability. The Department or Labor said it will strengthen overtime protections for salaried workers already entitled to overtime and provide greater clarity for workers and employers. 

The final rule will become effective on Dec. 1, 2016, giving employers more than six months to prepare. The final rule does not make any changes to the duties test for executive, administrative, and professional employees. 
 
"The one-sized-fits-all approach that will be implemented is unfortunate,” said Richard Sellers, AFIA senior vice-president of public policy and education. “Many feed industry small business owners and managers will soon be faced with difficult decisions as they begin implementing the overtime requirements." 

"We fear the increase will cause some employers to no longer allow overtime hours or that they'll cut base pay to offset the expense of overtime pay. It is also possible, employee benefits and full-time employees could see cuts," Sellers said.
 
The organization acknowledges the six-month compliance period, which was the minimum requested in its submitted comments to the Department of Labor, and that the automatic annual salary threshold update requirements, found in the proposed rule, are elevated to once every three years.