Legislature(1997 - 1998)

05/05/1998 03:07 PM Senate L&C

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
      CSHB 347(L&C) - OVERTIME WAGE EXEMPTION FOR MECHANICS                    
CHAIRMAN LEMAN brought CSHB 347(L&C) before the committee as the               
next order of business.                                                        
PETER TORKELSON, staff to Representative John Cowdery, said the                
legislation was drafted in cooperation with the Department of Labor            
and the Alaska auto dealers.  It is essentially a compromise that              
all parties believe addresses the key concerns, and will allow                 
flat-rate employers to work overtime to finish up a job or to                  
simply allow the flat-rate mechanic more by working extra hours.               
MR. TORKELSON said employers currently prohibit their flat-rate                
mechanics from working overtime because of complications in                    
existing regulations.  HB 347 clarifies this by establishing a                 
floor and minimum conditions that an employer must meet to pay                 
overtime to a flat-rate employee.                                              
ED FLANAGAN, Deputy commissioner, Department of Labor, stated the              
department had objections to prior versions of the legislation, but            
they worked extensively with the industry, the sponsor, and other              
interested parties and were able to come up with a draft that                  
enables them to remove their opposition to the bill.                           
MR. FLANAGAN said the original bill would have protected the                   
employer against a recalculation of the hourly wage.  That worked              
to the benefit of the employee, but it had no floor for times when             
the work is slow, other than minimum wage.  The current version of             
the bill has at least doubled the minimum wage or three-quarters of            
the agreed upon flat rate as the minimum rate for all hours worked,            
whether they are billing or not, would at least be available as a              
minimum guarantee.  It also preserves the concept of overtime after            
eight hours at that rate and over forty hours.                                 
SENATOR KELLY asked if there was any opposition to HB 347.  MR.                
FLANAGAN said the department was not aware of any opposition to the            
STEVE ALWINE, representing the Alaska Auto Dealers Association,                
affirmed that the legislation was a compromise, and based on the               
input from their employees, the Department of Labor, the AFL/CIO,              
and the member dealers, they feel it is an excellent compromise.               
MR. ALWINE said he knew Chairman Leman had a concern about the                 
twice Alaska minimum wage.  However, that issue has been reviewed              
at length and they don't feel that it will be an issue based on the            
way these mechanics are paid and the abilities that they have.  He             
added it is an option to what already exists in state statute and              
federal law so it gives the employers and the employees two ways to            
approach this.                                                                 
There being no further testimony on HB 347, CHAIRMAN LEMAN                     
requested a motion on the legislation.                                         
SENATOR MACKIE moved CSHB 347(L&C) be passed out of committee with             
individual recommendations.  Hearing no objection, it was so                   

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