Will this be a win for Minor League Baseball?
Posted on August 17th, 2016
By Chris Hadden, CPP
Technical Sales Manager
Employers are up to bat when it comes to overtime changes.
Growing up in Jacksonville, FL, most of my summertime memories are filled with baseball. Whether I was playing catch in the front yard, or up to bat in the local recreational league, everything seemed to revolve around baseball. In the rare moments that I wasn’t outside actually playing baseball, I was watching the Atlanta Braves on TV, or my parents were kind enough to drive me downtown to attend a Jacksonville Expos minor league baseball game in the old Wolfson Park. I always dreamed that maybe one day I would have the opportunity to play in the Minor Leagues, or just maybe, even the Major Leagues!
Fast forward many years and my summertime memories still seemed to be filled with baseball. Gone are my dreams of ever making it to the pros, but I’m still a huge fan of our local team in Jacksonville (now called the Jacksonville Suns), and I still spend many hot and humid summertime evenings having family time soaking in some fun with baseball, hot dogs and if I’m lucky, Dippin’ Dots.
The American pastime and my professional life recently came together when I became aware of the ongoing legal battle over possible minimum wage and overtime violations by the Major League Baseball organization, which oversees the Minor League program. The minor leagues have always been considered a stepping stone into Major League Baseball, even though most players do not make it that far. For years, this overtime and minimum wage claim has been brushed aside with the idea that Minor League players (who earn between $1,500 and $2,150 per month, 5 months out of the year) are essentially in a paid internship, which would exclude them from the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) regulations. The suit, which was filed over two years ago, argues otherwise.
As you would expect, the players, current and former team owners, and Major League Baseball executives do not quite see eye to eye on this issue. The suit is not scheduled to go on trial until February 2017, and I’m sure we will continue to see arguments on both sides leading up until that time.
If the suit does win, however, and Major League Baseball is not able to have Minor League players added to the list of occupations that are FLSA exempt, teams would have to begin tracking the players’ time. This would include travel time, ensuring the players are being paid the Federal and State minimum wage, overtime pay.
So to put this in perspective, this organization has a significant portion of their employee population that may soon become eligible for overtime, and they may soon have to begin tracking their employee’s time, which especially impacts employees who frequently travel for business.
Is this so different from your business? With the final ruling from the Department of Labor released in in May, millions of workers will now be eligible for overtime starting December 1, 2016. While Major League Baseball may still have a chance of avoiding any changes for their players, you, as an employer, are not left with this same luxury. Whether you like or not, these regulations are here to stay. What’s your strategy?
To help employers prepare for the new overtime regulations in December, Greenshades will be running a webinar series in September. You can register here.
So, while I hope we can all enjoy the rest of this beautiful summer, and perhaps catch a game or two, make sure you set aside some time to prepare for December 1st.