HR Management & Compliance

Time running out to make comments on proposed overtime rule

Employers wishing to make their views known on a proposed rule aimed at making nearly five million more workers exempt from the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and therefore eligible for overtime pay have through September 4 to submit comments.

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) released a proposed rule on July 6 that would guarantee overtime pay to most salaried white-collar workers earning less than an estimated $970 a week ($50,440 a year) in 2016. Currently, the salary threshold for an employee to be exempt from the FLSA is $455 a week ($23,660 a year). The salary threshold was last revised in 2004.

Comments may be submitted electronically or by mail. (Mailed comments should be directed to Mary Ziegler; Director of the Division of Regulations, Legislation, and Interpretation; Wage and Hour Division; U.S. Department of Labor; Room S-3502; 200 Constitution Ave. NW; Washington, D.C., 20210.)

The proposed rule raises the salary threshold for executive, administrative, professional, outside sales, and computer employees deemed to be exempt from the FLSA. As proposed, the rule would set the standard salary level at the 40th percentile of weekly earnings for full-time salaried workers. The rule also would provide for automatic updates of the salary threshold based on inflation or wage growth over time.

Before the proposed rule was released, many had expected it would place limits on the amount of nonexempt work that could be performed by exempt employees or that the concept of a supervisor performing exempt duties simultaneously with nonexempt work would be removed from the regulations. Although the proposed rule doesn’t change the current “duties test” used to determine whether employees can be exempt, it seeks comments on the current requirements, so more changes may be coming.

The DOL also seeks comments on the possibility of including nondiscretionary bonuses to satisfy a portion of the standard salary requirement.

The DOL has posted a fact sheet explaining the proposed rule’s key provisions and how to comment.

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