Overtime regulations and the spread of E15

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It hasn’t been a good week if you’re a believer that businesses are already overburdened with regulations and that the potential for our customers to misfuel their boats with E15 is becoming more alarming.

First, in keeping up the quest to make America “regulation nation,” the Obama Administration unveiled its changes to the federal overtime rule. The formal announcement was made this week at an event in Columbus, Ohio, by Vice President Joe Biden, Labor Secretary Thomas Perez and Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio).

The move essentially doubles the salary threshold from its current $23,660 ($455 a week) to $47,476 ($913 a week). Virtually all workers (except teachers and certain health care workers) who are under the new threshold will have to be paid time-and-a-half for anything time worked over 40 hours per week.

Currently, if salaried workers make between $23,660 and $47,476 and have some managerial duties they’re considered "exempt" from overtime pay. Under the new rules, such managers would be reclassified as "non-exempt." It is estimated that more than 5 million currently exempt employees will become eligible when this goes into effect on Dec. 1.

It’s also notable that the new regulation still empowers the states to enact their own statutes that can differ from these new federal rules. But businesses will be subject to whichever regulations are more generous to employees.

Obviously, this big of an increase to the salary threshold will mean all employers will have to thoughtfully reexamine their labor situations, particularly regarding those considered management or supervisors and the nature of the managerial work they perform.

Finally, it has been reported pro-business and free-market groups have sent letters to Congress urging lawmakers to prevent enactment of the new regulations. However, while revising the new rules could become a top lobbying priority of business down the road, fast action isn’t expected, so there’s nothing on the immediate horizon to stop the rule from going into effect. Accordingly, dealers should plan to review their personnel situations well before the deadline.

More E15

It’s like a bad movie: E15 keeps coming to a pump near you.

Kum & Go is the latest to announced it’s expanding E15 to another 30 locations in 10 states by the end of 2016. That will mean more than 100 Kum & Go stations will be dispensing E15. The Iowa-based Kum & Go has more than 430 convenience stores across 11 states.

Meanwhile, in Indiana, Family Express is rolling out new fuel pumps for E15. The convenience store retailer says it will market the fuel as Unleaded E15. The new pumps should be in place in a couple of months. Moreover, they are being funded in part by a $789,000 grant obtained from the Hoosier Homegrown Fuels Blender Pump Program. The new pumps will show up in the counties of Jasper, Lake, Porter, LaPorte, St. Joseph and Starke in northwest Indiana, an area bordering Lake Michigan and other extensively-used inland boating waters. Family Express operates 63 convenience stores throughout northwest and north-central Indiana.

Finally, convenience store retailer Thorntons will start pumping E15 at 43 Chicago-area locations this month. Thorntons’ E15 will be sold at its pump under its trademarked “Unleaded15” brand name. Good grief, you’d have to be brain-dead not to see that such branding is sure to set up boaters who aren’t extremely diligent to misfueling and the resulting damage to their marine engines.

Sadly, the Louisville-based Thorntons operates 184 convenience stores in Kentucky, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Tennessee and Florida.

And that’s enough “News that Sucks” for one blog.

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