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Capitol Hill Update
 

   7/15/2011
 

On July 14, SHRM member Nobumichi Hara, Senior Vice President of Human Capital for Goodwill Industries of Central Arizona, testified before the House Subcommittee on Workforce Protections during a congressional hearing about the relevance of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) to today’s information-based economy. 

In his prepared statement, Mr. Hara, pictured at right (center) conversing with Subcommittee chairman Rep. Tim Walberg (R-MI) with SHRM Director of Government Affairs Mike Aitken looking on, told members of the panel that the 73-year-old law was no longer totally relevant in today’s information-based economy. Specifically, he explained how the FLSA inhibits employers from providing workplace flexibility to non-exempt employees.

He said the 1938 law "reflects the realities of the industrial workplace of the 1930s and not the workplace of the 21st century. Minimum-wage policies and overtime exemption requirements, which may have been appropriate in the 1930s, are out of step with the current knowledge and technology-based economy.”

Providing SHRM’s perspective that although the FLSA has been a foundation of labor law for decades, Mr. Hara noted today it prevents employers from meeting the work-life needs of many of their employees. He said giving employees some control over how, when and where work gets done raises compliance concerns with the FLSA.

Mr. Hara touted SHRM’s multi-year partnership with the Families and Work Institute (FWI), a joint initiative that aims to transform the way employers view and adopt workplace flexibility.

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