Have you ever gone into a training seminar thinking “This is going to be a life changing!”? Well on that Wednesday morning in June at the Las Vegas SHRM Conference, I did not. The only thing on my mind at 7 a.m. was wishing I could afford the Starbucks on my per diem. Caffeinated or not, the MEGA session I attended would alter everything I would be doing for the next two months.
I sat and listened to the updated information on the Proposed FLSA overtime regulations and how this change would increase the minimum salary threshold, almost doubling it from $455 per week to $970. Now I was thinking, “This is going to change what we do at my non-profit agency! What will it do to the 1,646 children and their families we serve? Should we increase managers’ salaries to meet the threshold, allowing them to remain exempt, however costing us over $80,000? OR do we make changes to our program that would decrease the quality of services we provide?” I decided that moment I could not sit and wait to see what would happen. I had to act!
The seminar was the first I heard about the SHRM A-Team. Initially I thought, “I have no clue what to do, or where to start;” however, this team has helped me through every step. In August, I was given the opportunity to sit before the U.S. Small Business Administration and Department of Labor during a locally-held roundtable. I was able to speak, to help them understand how this change will impact not only my industry, but other employers in my state.
Just last week, I had the opportunity to voice my concerns through a radio interview with NPR. I have been given tools to assist me as I speak and engage with my local policymakers. Most importantly, I have ensured that the voice of SHRM and Head Start are being heard and that Washington understands how this proposal would affect operations, resources, and staffing, as well as what impact it would have on the children relying on our services and our non-profit agency’s ability to advance its mission.
It has been an exciting two months - and dare I say a “rush.” I have found a new passion in my HR profession and am now looking forward to other activities as I plan to continue working on this and other key issues in the future.
To visit the SHRM Policy Action Center, please click here.