Overtime for more managers could become mandatory

April 12, 2016
Sarah A. Moser

Salary thresholds for employees who earn overtime pay may soon jump to $50,000 a year, meaning potential changes for veterinary practice managers and those who pay them.

If the Department of Labor approves President Obama's proposed change to the Fair Labor Standards Act, the salary threshold for veterinary practice managers eligible for overtime pay will increase considerably. A proposed rule would increase the level from $23,660 to as much as $50,440 a year.

“President Obama was concerned about making sure people are paid a fair wage for a fair day's work,” says Veterinary Medicine Caucus co-chair Kurt Schrader, DVM, a U.S. representative for Oregon's fifth district. “He found that overtime requirements for paying managers had not kept up with inflation. My reaction to this is similar to that of most practice owners: I'm very concerned. Salaries should be based on what your practice can afford. Having said that, obviously the threshold should be more than $23,000 a year.”

The proposal was submitted July 6, 2015, with a brief comment period that ended Sept. 4, 2015. The proposal received 293,384 comments from the public and is now in the final rule stage of the regulatory timeline, with the Department of Labor mum on how those public comments will affect the final rule.

“I think most veterinary practices are doing the right thing, paying their managers a good salary already,” says Schrader. “If this rule passes as is, it could be a big blow to a veterinary business. What I wish would happen is an accommodation here that lets everyone win. An increase but not a jump straight to the $50,000 range. Our practice managers are like family, and they deserve the reward of a good salary. But jumping straight to $50,000 is a huge move.”

Sarah Moser is a freelance writer and editor in Lenexa, Kansas.