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DEPT. OF LABOR PROPOSED CHANGES TO OVERTIME RULES

August 4, 2016 | Posted in: FLSA

The Department is proposing to update the regulations governing which executive, administrative, and professional employees (white collar workers) are entitled to the Fair Labor Standards Act’s minimum wage and overtime pay protections. The Department last updated these regulations in 2004, and the current salary threshold for exemption is $455 per week ($23,660 per year). With this proposed rule, the Department seeks to update the salary level required for exemption to ensure that the FLSA’s intended overtime protections are fully implemented, and to simplify the identification of nonexempt employees, thus making the executive, administrative and professional employee exemption easier for employers and workers to understand and apply.

The Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) focuses primarily on updating the salary and compensation levels needed for white collar workers to be exempt. Specifically, the Department proposes to:

  1. set the standard salary level at the 40th percentile of weekly earnings for full-time salaried workers ($921 per week, or $47,892 annually);
  2. increase the total annual compensation requirement needed to exempt highly compensated employees (HCEs) to the annualized value of the 90th percentile of weekly earnings of full-time salaried workers ($122,148 annually); and
  3. establish a mechanism for automatically updating the salary and compensation levels going forward to ensure that they will continue to provide a useful and effective test for exemption.

The Department’s proposal to set the standard salary level at the 40th percentile of weekly earnings for full-time salaried workers represents the most appropriate line of demarcation between exempt and nonexempt employees. This salary level minimizes the risk that employees legally entitled to overtime will be subject to misclassification based solely on the salaries they receive, without excluding from exemption an unacceptably high number of employees who meet the duties test. As proposed, this would raise the salary threshold from $455 a week (the equivalent of $23,660 a year) to about $970 a week ($50,440 a year) in 2016.  (This information taken from Dept. of Labor website).

You can find the proposed rule here: http://www.dol.gov/whd/overtime/NPRM2015/OT-NPRM.pdf.

If these changes are made, it will be good news for a lot of employees, as white collar employees will have to make more money in order to be considered exempt.  We will continue to post updates on these changes to the Rules.

Our Ohio Employment Lawyers can answer all of your questions about unpaid overtime, unpaid minimum wage and any other wage issues.  For answers to your questions about the Fair Labor Standards Act, visit our FAQ page http://www.thefriedmannfirm.com/services/faqs.html#faq1.  Ohio has similar laws to protect workers from wage violations, including the Ohio minimum wage laws, that you can find here http://codes.ohio.gov/orc/4111.