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Service writer OT efforts quashed

October 12, 2012
Congressional legislation to prevent a government shutdown, signed into law Sept. 28, includes an extention of a federal overtime exemption for service advisors through March.
Service advisers have since the late 1970s been exempt from the rules governing federal time-and-a-half pay requirements. Although not directly involved with selling cars, service advisers are classified as sales staff, meaning dealerships aren’t required by law to pay them overtime if they work more than 40 hours a week. (Mechanics and parts salespeople also are excluded from federal OT rules.)
But the Labor Department last year decided to reverse course, saying the department was siding with the AFL-CIO and other workers’ rights groups in their interpretation of the rules, which says service advisers should be eligible for overtime pay.
The change, while not trumpeted in the headlines, could have affected an estimated 45,000 service advisers — also known as service writers, service managers and service salespeople — in dealerships across the country, according to the National Automobile Dealers Association.
Congressional intervention prevents the Labor Department from enacting the new policy for service salespeople.
“Reversing 40 years of precedence of overtime requirements for service advisors could force dealers to make potentially costly compensation and staffing changes,” said NADA Chairman Bill Underriner.
“Altering overtime rules after 40 years with little to no justification hinders a dealer’s ability to create new jobs,” Underriner said.