Alexandria, VA, May, 18, 2016 –American Society of Travel agents (ASTA) President and CEO Zane Kerby issues the following statement in response to the Department of Labor's issuance of its final rule updating overtime regulations affecting millions of American workers and small businesses:
"We are disappointed with the Department of Labor's (DOL) final overtime rule, announced today, which will more than double the salary threshold below which workers will be eligible to receive overtime pay. While we believe employees should be compensated fairly, in the public comments we filed last September we expressed our grave concerns that an increase of this magnitude with little lead time will cause significant disruption to our members' business operations and the travel agency community as a whole, which will be felt ultimately by the traveling public. Moreover, the provision in the final rule mandating further increases to the salary threshold every three years as well as the lack of accounting for cost-of-living variations in different parts of the country represents an additional burden on all small businesses that we believe, frankly, the Obama Administration has failed to adequately consider.
"We have already held one meeting with DOL on changes to separate regulations to provide our members some relief from the final rule, and broadly speaking we will continue to advocate on behalf of our industry and work with policymakers to explore legislative remedies for this problem and to otherwise mitigate the worst impacts of the rule. At the same time, ASTA stands ready to assist its members in complying with the new overtime rule in advance of the December 1, 2016 effective date. To that end, we will be launching a series of webinars and other educational programs on this subject in the near future, and will be discussing it at our upcoming Global Convention."
Rebranded in 2018 as the American Society of Travel Advisors, ASTA is the leading global advocate for travel advisors, the travel industry and the traveling public. Its members represent 80 percent of all travel sold in the United States through the travel agency distribution channel. Together with hundreds of internationally-based members, ASTA’s history of industry advocacy traces back to its founding in 1931 when it launched with the mission to facilitate the business of selling travel through effective representation, shared knowledge and the enhancement of professionalism. For more information about the Society, visit ASTA.org. Consumers can connect with an ASTA travel advisor at TravelSense.org.