HR Management & Compliance

Adopt New FLSA Overtime Rules Before December Deadline, Former DOL Official Says

By Kate McGovern Tornone, Editor

Employers should make any necessary changes to employees’ exemptions before the workweek that includes December 1, according to a former administrator of the U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) Wage and Hour Division (WHD).

New Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) regulations have raised the salary threshold for the law’s overtime exemptions to $913 per week, which amounts to $47,476 annually. The change takes effect December 1—a Thursday—and Tammy McCutchen says employers probably want to avoid reclassifying an employee as nonexempt in the middle of a workweek. Calculating overtime would be too complicated.

Instead, adopt the new status the week before the deadline, she told attendees at the Society for Human Resource Management’s (SHRM’s) annual conference in Washington, D.C., last month. That’s the week of Thanksgiving and unless you’re in retail, employees are unlikely to work more than 40 hours that week anyway, McCutchen said.

Employers also should review all employee exemptions, not just those for workers falling between the old and new salary thresholds. Now is the time to get your house in order, McCutchen said; now is the time you can fix things with the lowest risk of employee complaints and litigation.

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