Luther employee wages affected by injunction

Students+visit+with+faculty+during+Iowa+Private+College+Week%2C+a+major+admissions+event%2C+in+August.
Students visit with faculty during Iowa Private College Week, a major admissions event, in August.

Students visit with faculty during Iowa Private College Week, a major admissions event, in August.

Students visit with faculty during Iowa Private College Week, a major admissions event, in August. Aaron Lurth / Photo Bureau

Students visit with faculty during Iowa Private College Week, a major admissions event, in August. Aaron Lurth / Photo Bureau

Students visit with faculty during Iowa Private College Week, a major admissions event, in August.

Dmitry Vorona, Staff Writer

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A recent injunction on an Obama administration ruling regarding overtime work compensation pertains to some Luther employees who fall within the updated salary cap.

Forbes.com reported on Nov. 22 that Texas Federal Judge Amos L. Mazzant III issued an injunction against a ruling which raised the salary cap for employee overtime compensation pay. The cap was raised from the previous $455 per week to $921 per week, or $47,892 per year. Mazzant III upheld the interests of 21 states and over 50 businesses, stating that the ruling, set to go into effect on Dec. 1, would harm them financially.

Associate Vice President and Director of Admissions Derek Hartl explained that Luther anticipated the effects of the ruling approximately one year ago and sought out employees accordingly.

“Luther was looking for employees that would fall under this particular order,” Hartl said. “We were way out in front of this and saw the way it occurred when other colleges have not even started to respond or do anything yet.”

According to Hartl, under the ruling Luther employees who were salaried and fell beneath the increased cap were moved to hourly wages and then paid overtime. Hartl said that the admissions department faced challenges in regard to those admissions counselors who travel frequently, as they must discern between work hours and non-work hours.

“[We had to] figure out first and foremost what our counselors were paid for and what they are not,” Hartl said. “Once we figured that out, it became rather easy [to adapt].”

Dining Services employee Kayla Austin said that she does not know of the wage ruling nor the injunction but that she is looking for a wage raise.

“I’m asking for a little more [pay],” Austin said. “I work hard, and my boss said he’s working to raise my wage.”

In light of Mazzant III’s injunction, however, Hartl said that Luther will need to readjust according to the anticipated changes.

“When it was announced that they were going to raise the threshold up, we were pretty well-prepared to deal with it,” Hartl said. “Now, when the order was blocked it changes how [Human Resources] and the [Luther] administration has to deal with it.”

Forbes.com further reported that the injunction prevents the ruling from being enacted in the interim; the ruling will go to an appeals court and may only be implemented if the government wins a countermanding order. Hartl explained that despite the possible eradication of the ruling, he sees the injunction being difficult to approve.

“I believe it now goes into an appeals court,” Hartl said. “And the last that I heard, the appeals court never overruled this particular judge’s decision.”

Director of Human Resources Marsha Wenthold and Associate Director of Human Resources Matthew Bills declined to comment about the federal injunction’s implications for Luther.

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