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Horsemen's Notice on new Fair Labor Standards Act Compliance Thresholds

06/27/24Employers under the U.S. Department of Labor (“DOL”) under the Federal Law, Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) must meet a salary threshold to maintain an employee’s administrative, executive or professional exemption, referred to as the “white-collar” exemptions, from minimum wage and overtime rules under the FLSA. It is estimated three to four million U.S. employees will become eligible for overtime or receive salary increases to remain exempt.

Effective July 1, 2024: Exempt salary increases to $844/week ($43,888 annually). Employees making less than $844/week are not exempt and are eligible to receive overtime for all hours worked in excess of 40 hours per week.

Effective January 1, 2025: Exempt salary increases to $1,128/week ($58,656 annually).

Highly Compensated Employees. The Final Rule also impacts an exemption for highly compensated employees who do not meet other elements of the “white-collar” exemptions. For highly compensated employees, the minimum salary will be $132,964 on July 1, 2024, and increase to $151,164 on January 1, 2025.

Automatic Increases Beginning 2027. The Final Rule creates automatic increases to exempt salary thresholds in the future. The first increase is scheduled for July 1, 2027, and subsequent increases will occur every three years afterward. These increases will be based on up-to-date earnings data.

What can happen if you’re not following the law with employees under the Fair Labor Standards Act? Below are links from a thoroughbred trainer, Steve Assmusen's cases. New York has been on a crack-down on trainers for FLSA violations. Industry norms on paying employees the way Steve Assmusen has aren't compliant, horsemen need to be aware of the law and comply.

-June 2024: $480,000 in back wages and liquidated damages for illegal pay practices with 163 grooms and hot walkers at Churchill and Keeneland in violation of the Federal Labor Standards Act (FLSA)

-August 2023: $200,000 in wage recovery and penalties for wage shortages and H2B violations for 39 grooms at New York racetracks

-September 2021 Over $600,000 in back wages and penalties for 170 employees for willful wage and record keeping violations at Saratoga and Belmont Park in violation of teh FLSA

Ohio County Fair Mandatory Safety Meetings

06/18/24The Ohio State Racing Commission notified all Fair Circuit Secretaries and Officials that a driver’s meeting is mandatory before races start at each and every fair. The safety meeting should emphasize safety, enforce the whipping rule, and remind that driver’s vests are mandatory for all when on-track even in the heat.

06/13/24Qualifers hosted by the Delaware County Fairgrounds are on June 18th and 25, 2024. Post Time for both days is 8:00 a.m.

06/04/24Listen as Executive Director Renée Mancino sits down with the Farm Bureau's Ty Higgins and talks about prreparations being made for the 2024 Ohio County Fair Racing Season. From the OHHA to the barn what goes into producing and providing horses for top-notch Ohio County Fair Racing.

05/30/24Today the Ohio State Racing Commisson issued a Directive regarding leaving the racetrack after the post-parade. If a horse leaves the track without permission of the judges they may be scratched from the race.

05/09/24Make sure to check the condition sheets for Caesars Scioto Downs for small modificaitons made to the starter's allowance race rules from the Miami Valley meet starter's allowances. Starters allowance horses can only drop in without a tag if you've raced for the claiming price or lower in your last two starts. Claimers Class Drop Rule: (Unless approved by the race secretary) $50,000 and above to NW14000, 40,000 to NW10500, 30,000 to NW7500, 20,000 to NW5000, 15,000 to NW3750. Starters Allowance races that are claiming handicaps will be drawn based on claiming price or the horse's last claiming tag.

05/07/24Join us statewide as the young horses begin Ohio's Matinee season. May 11, 2024 first post at noon at Mercer County, May 18, 2024 at noon at Darke County, May 19, 2024 at Fayette County at 12:30 p.m., May 26, 2024 at Champaign County at 12:30 p.m., and wrapping up the season June 2, 2024 at Crawford County with an 11:00 a.m. post time. Check our livestream site for live broadcasts of the matinees.

04/18/24The OHHA Board of Directors approved a $5,000 contribution for the national harness racing horsemen's association's US Supreme Court Amicus Curiae brief. The initiative was spearheaded by the New York Standardbred Breeders and Owner's Associaton.

03/24/24March 24, 2024 MGM floating the potential sale of their operating rights at MGM Northfield and MGM Springfield. VICI owns the real estate. Last time it sold was 2018 for $275 million to MGM.

03/19/24Modifications underway for horse racing regulation in Kentucky. An emergency Bill (SB 3) passed in the Kentucky Senate 20-16 and moved to the House March 15, 2024. It moves the Kentucky Racing Commission from a State Agency to an Independent Department administratively attached under the Department of Agriculture. March 30, 2024 update, Kentucky Senator Thayer (leaving the legislature December 31, 2024) kept it an independent Department tying it to the Department of Agriculture only for necessary administrative functions. There will be divisions to include sports wagering, racing, compliance, and enforcement. The Bill was amended several times prior to moving to the House. The Bill passed out of the House and goes to the Kentucky Governor for signature.