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WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The National Restaurant Association (NRA) today applauded the U.S. Department of Labor's (DOL) initiative to modernize 50-year-old regulations under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The policy defines exemptions from overtime pay for executive, administrative and professional "white-collar" employees.

"Updating these regulations is long overdue. It is difficult for business owners to operate a 21st century business with a 21st century workforce while attempting to comply with 50-year old labor regulations," Robert Green, Director of Workforce Policy for the NRA, said in a release. "The Department of Labor should be commended for issuing this draft proposal and we look forward to thoroughly reviewing the Department's work to ensure that it reflects the restaurant industry's unique perspective."

For the first time since 1975 the DOL's proposed regulations would raise the salary threshold -- below which workers would automatically qualify for overtime -- from $155 a week to $425 a week. The proposed changes also include revising job duties required to qualify for the exemption to better correspond to 21st century workplace realities. Written in 1949, the old labor regulations are now outdated and include job classifications that no longer exist.

"The National Restaurant Association will review the proposed regulations to ensure that they reflect the specific concerns of the restaurant industry as to the proper classification of employees, including the unique duties of restaurant managers, assistant managers, chefs and sous chefs and compensation levels which are prevalent in the industry," Green said. "If done correctly, streamlining outdated labor laws and reducing regulatory red tape can go a long way for operators of small businesses."

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