ASTA Continues DOL Blacklist Fight with Help from CongressPress Releases - News - ASTA

May 7, 2019

ASTA Continues DOL Blacklist Fight with Help from Congress

Rep. Francis Rooney’s Bill Would Help Travel Agencies Control Payroll Costs, Better Serve Clients

Alexandria, VA, May 7, 2019 – The American Society of Travel Advisors (ASTA) is praising last week’s introduction of The Travel Advisor Retail Fairness Act by Representative Francis Rooney (FL 19th). The bill, cosponsored by Reps. Dina Titus (NV 1st) and Andy Biggs (AZ 5th), would remove travel agencies from an arbitrary regulatory “blacklist” that blocks them from utilizing an exemption from federal overtime rules designed for retail businesses.

“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,” said Zane Kerby, ASTA’s President and CEO. “We are incredibly grateful to Congressman Rooney for taking up this fight on behalf of the 49 ASTA members in Florida’s 19th Congressional District and the broader industry, and will do everything in our power to see this bill through to enactment.”

“Travel advisors play an important role in Florida’s $150 billion tourism-based economy, with over 1,600 retail locations across the state,” said Congressman Rooney, a member of the U.S. House Committee on Education and Labor, which oversees labor issues. “I will continue to push the Department of Labor to end this unreasonable designation.  Travel advisors clearly exemplify a retail concept, and the exemption they are seeking is in line with similar industries.”

The Travel Advisor Retail Fairness Act (H.R. 2506), introduced on May 2, 2019, directs the Secretary of Labor to revise its regulations to remove travel agencies from the partial list of establishments having no retail concept within 90 days. In the interim, the bill states that “a travel agency shall not be considered an establishment having no retail concept” for the purposes of the Retail or Service Establishment exemption. It was referred to the House Committee on Education and Labor.

“Changing policy in Washington is a marathon, not a sprint,” said Eben Peck, ASTA’s Executive Vice President, Advocacy, who has worked closely with Congressman Rooney’s staff in the lead-up to the bill’s introduction. “We commend Congressman Rooney for his leadership on and commitment to this issue, which will provide a measure of regulatory relief to local small businesses while supporting an integral part of the broader travel industry so critical to Florida’s economy. The facts are on our side, and this is a fight worth fighting.”

ASTA has been pressing this issue in Congress and at the Department of Labor since 2016, meeting with senior Department officials, filing a formal petition for rulemaking, garnering support for Congressman Rooney’s 2017 bill and coordinat a Congressional coalition letter on the topic.

 

ABOUT ASTA
Rebranded in 2018 as the American Society of Travel Advisors, ASTA is the leading global advocate for travel advisors, the travel industry and the traveling public. Its members represent 80 percent of all travel sold in the United States through the travel agency distribution channel. Together with hundreds of internationally-based members, ASTA’s history of industry advocacy traces back to its founding in 1931 when it launched with the mission to facilitate the business of selling travel through effective representation, shared knowledge and the enhancement of professionalism. For more information about the Society, visit ASTA.org. Consumers can connect with an ASTA travel advisor at TravelSense.org.

 

ABOUT ASTA
Rebranded in 2018 as the American Society of Travel Advisors, ASTA is the leading global advocate for travel advisors, the travel industry and the traveling public. Its members represent 80 percent of all travel sold in the United States through the travel agency distribution channel. Together with hundreds of internationally-based members, ASTA’s history of industry advocacy traces back to its founding in 1931 when it launched with the mission to facilitate the business of selling travel through effective representation, shared knowledge and the enhancement of professionalism. For more information about the Society, visit ASTA.org. Consumers can connect with an ASTA travel advisor at TravelSense.org.

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American Society of Travel Advisors
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