U.S. Rep. Francis Rooney (R-Fla.) last week introduced the Travel Advisor Retail Fairness Act, which would enable agencies to be exempt from federal overtime rules.

ASTA praised the introduction of the bill, which was co-sponsored by Reps. Dina Titus (D-Nev.) and Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.).

The Society has worked for some time to have agencies removed from the so-called blacklist, a Department of Labor list of businesses ineligible for exemption from overtime rules. ASTA believes that some agencies, based on their business model and how they compensate employees, are eligible for exemption.

"Not only do their employees necessarily work irregular hours to help clients facing travel disruptions, but travel agencies are the very picture of retail businesses, and we think it's indefensible that agencies are denied use of this exemption from the overtime rules," ASTA president and CEO Zane Kerby said in a statement.

Rooney's bill was introduced May 2. It was referred to the House Committee on Education and Labor.

In addition to supporting Rooney's bill and a similar one introduced in 2017, ASTA has filed a formal petition for rulemaking to have agencies removed from the list, and it has coordinated a Congressional coalition letter on the matter.

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