The U.S. Department of Labor on Tuesday announced that it would rescind its regulatory “blacklist” that blocks agencies from being exempt from the enforcement of overtime rules.
The news means that agencies will be exempt from the DOL’s overtime rules the same as any other retail business. Advisors will now be included on the list of employees, paid primarily on a commission basis, who are exempt from the overtime rules. The news will allow agency owners and advisors the flexibility they need to perform.
“We commend the Department of Labor for recognizing that travel advisors frequently work irregular hours to help clients facing travel disruptions, as seen most recently during the COVID crisis, and that travel agencies should have the same access to this exemption from the overtime rules as any other retail business,” said Zane Kerby, ASTA president and CEO.
“In addition, we are incredibly grateful to Congressman Rooney, Congresswoman Titus, and other legislators who have taken up our cause over the past few years. Once the COVID crisis passes, our industry will be in a better position to serve clients thanks to this change.”
ASTA has been targeting the issue since 2016, including spending time at multiple legislation days meeting with members of Congress and explaining how the issue impacts the agency business.
ASTA had also filed a formal petition for rulemaking and thrown its support behind Congressman Rooney’s 2019 Travel Advisor Retail Fairness Act that would have had the same impact as Monday’s ruling.
“While sustaining their businesses through the coronavirus crisis is our members’ primary focus right now, this welcome step will provide a measure of regulatory relief once business returns,” said Eben Peck, executive vice president of advocacy for ASTA.
“ASTA has been actively engaging with policymakers on this issue for the better part of four years, but this kind of successful advocacy work is a team effort. If you attended ASTA Legislative Day, if you responded to our grassroots calls-to-action, if you contributed to ASTAPAC, or even if you supported ASTA with your membership dues, you share credit for this victory.”