Survey Finds FLSA Rules Having Minimal Effect in Illinois

September 20, 2004 ( - Controversial new federal overtime rules have produced minimal negative effects on Illinois state employees, according to a survey of the state's employers.

A survey by the Management Association of Illinois, intended to assess the changes that have occurred since the amended Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) went into force in late August, found that of the 60% of employers who have reassessed their overtime pay requirements, only 36% have made any changes. Of those, 84% have changed the rules to be more inclusive with overtime pay. This was to be expected, as state legislation signed earlier this year generally blocks the law from taking effect in the state except for cases in which it benefits workers, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.

The Illinois laws do not protect workers who are employed by Illinois-based companies but work out of state. Of the 36% of employers who have made changes to overtime pay, 28% took away overtime pay rights. Although the survey did not ask participants whether they rescinded overtime pay rights inside or outside state borders, it can safely be assumed, because of the state legislation, that a large majority of the cuts occurred outside the state.

The Illinois case is an example of how the FLSA rules will not apply equally across the country. The FLSA is only a minimum standard, and, as was the case with Illinois , states can be more generous than federal law stipulates with their overtime pay rules (See Uneven Start for New Overtime Rules ).

The rules, which modify the tests describing the ‘duties’ of specific job descriptions, have drawn fire from both Congress and state legislatures. Last week, both the House of Representatives and the Senate Appropriations Committee voted to block the rules (See US Senate Joins House in OK of FLSA Blocking Measure ).