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October 24, 1997

Amended rule would exempt computer software professionals from overtime compensation

TUMWATER - A public hearing on a proposed rule amendment that exempts computer software professionals from being paid overtime has been scheduled.

The computer software industry asked Labor & Industries in 1996 to change the current rule regarding overtime exemption for professional employees. The industry recommended L&I adopt the current language on computer software professionals from the federal Fair Labor Standards Act. That act specifies occupational characteristics of computer software professionals and exempts them from payment of overtime and minimum wage.

Following a survey of interested groups, including representatives from the industry and organized labor, L&I agreed to pursue rulemaking to amend WAC 296-128 to include the language of the federal act. This was accomplished by creating a new section (535) using clear-rule writing techniques.

The rule would be adopted Dec. 31, 1997, and become effective Feb. 1, 1998.

The hearing regarding the proposed rule will be held:

Nov. 25, 1997 - 10 a.m. to noon
Department of Labor & Industries Auditorium
7273 Linderson Way S.W.
Tumwater, WA

The agency will accept written comments until Dec. 2, 1997. (Update: On Dec. 9, 1997, the deadline for comments was extended to Dec. 19, 1997.) Send them to:

Greg Mowat, Program Manager
Employment Standards
Department of Labor & Industries
P.O. Box 4-4510
Olympia, WA 98504-4510

Written comments of 10 pages or less may be faxed to 360-902-5300.

To obtain a copy of the proposed changes by mail or fax, write to the above address or call 360-902-5315.

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