Roberta Chinsky Matuson
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Will Obama’s New Overtime Rules Put the “Nap Culture” to Rest?

For the past several years, companies have been trying to outdo one another with an array of perks that remind younger workers of their youth. Walk into any newly designed office these days and you’ll see the mandatory ping-pong table as well as the dedicated space where workers are encouraged to take naps. Is this dream work environment about to become a nightmare for employers who soon must comply with Obama’s new overtime pay plan? I predict it will. Here’s why.

The Overtime Rule

The final rule becomes effective on December 1, 2016 and will requires time-and-a-half overtime pay for most salaried employees making less than $47,476 a year. This is double the current $23,660 ceiling. The Department of Labor estimates this will extend protections to 4.2 million workers across the country.

So let me ask you something. How many shareholders do you think are going to take this new rule laying down? I’m betting not many. It’s one thing for investors to sit by idly while workers, who nap during the day, work through the night. It’s another when these same workers will be entitled to overtime pay for doing so. It’s certainly a sweet deal for today’s youth and not such a great deal for the people who will be funding these naps.

Wake-Up Call

I’ve been saying for a long time that companies are wasting billions of dollars on perks that don’t work. The employees that you really want to hire are the bright ones who see right through this madness. These are the people who are interested in coming to work, doing a great job, working for companies with a strong purpose and experiencing what it’s like to work for a great boss.

Here’s what doesn’t interest them. Working crazy hours. They want balance in their life. This means being able to leave the office at a reasonable hour and having a life outside of work. They’d rather sleep at home than on the job!

Now I do find it somewhat ironic that young people need naps, as I always thought naps were for older people. But I digress. Let this be your wake-up call. You are going to have to quickly figure out how to attract and retain workers without the smoke and mirrors that have been all the rage. Otherwise your bonuses will soon be going to fund naps and playtime.

Shifting The Culture

As a way of avoiding the tedious task of tracking hours, many companies will be bringing their employees up to the new minimum. The time to put these crazy perks to bed is when you decide to make this shift. Employees will be thrilled with their new-found wealth and will gladly give up something they never really valued. You can then take the extra time employees will be gaining, since they will no longer be playing ping-pong or napping, and give them something most are seeking. An opportunity to invest time in their own personal development so they can continue to grow in their careers.

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