White Castle Vice President Jamie Richardson testified on June 10 before a hearing of the House Education and Workforce Committee’s Subcommittee on Workforce Protections. The Committee was examining federal labor law prior to the administration’s anticipated revisions to overtime rules.
The federal Fair and Labor Standards Act (FLSA) should be modernized to reflect the 21st-century economy and workforce, Richardson told the congressional panel.
“While few significant modifications have been made to the FLSA in recent years, there has been a major shift in the industries that drive employment opportunities, technology has transformed the workplace and job duties, and employees increasingly place a premium on workplace flexibility,” Richardson said. “The result is an outdated and complex framework in which employers and employees must operate, and the need to modernize a 1930’s Depression-era law for the 21st-century economy has never been more important.”
White Castle testified on behalf of the National Council of Chain Restaurants and the National Retail Federation, which have been critical of the Obama administration’s plan to alter federal overtime rules. NRF commissioned a recent study from Oxford Economics that analyzed the practical implications of the overtime revisions, which found that even a modest change to the overtime salary threshold would affect millions of workers and cost restaurant and retail businesses more than $5 billion.
“Such a modification [to the federal overtime rules] would curb a manager’s critical ability to multitask in a busy restaurant setting, undermine customer service, limit training opportunities for team members, diminish morale and force complicated assessments of time spent ‘managing’ in a restaurant setting,” Richardson said. “[They] would impose immense costs on chain restaurants and would stifle opportunities for career advancement for hourly associates who wish to manage our restaurants.”