Yesterday the US Department of Labor (US DOL) released their overtime ruling. This has been highly anticipated for the past several months and is now final. President Obama directed the DOL to update and modernize the regulations governing the exemption for certain employees from the minimum wage and overtime pay protections of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) back in 2014. A preliminary rule was released in July 2015 and hundreds of thousands of comments were received which lead to this final version released yesterday.
Following are the key provisions of the final rule:
The Final Rule focuses primarily on updating the salary and compensation levels needed for EAP workers to be exempt. Specifically, the Final Rule:
1.Sets the standard salary level at the 40th percentile of earnings of full-time salaried workers in the lowest-wage Census Region, currently the South, which is $913 per week or $47,476 annually for a full-year worker;
2.Sets the total annual compensation requirement for highly compensated employees (HCE) subject to a minimal duties test to the annual equivalent of the 90th percentile of full-time salaried workers nationally, which is $134,004; and
3.Establishes a mechanism for automatically updating the salary and compensation levels every three years to maintain the levels at the above percentiles and to ensure that they continue to provide useful and effective tests for exemption.
Additionally, the Final Rule amends the salary basis test to allow employers to use nondiscretionary bonuses and incentive payments (including commissions) to satisfy up to 10 percent of the new standard salary level. The Final Rule makes no changes to the duties tests.
The effective date of the Final Rule is December 1, 2016. The initial increases to the standard salary level (from $455 to $913 per week) and HCE total annual compensation requirement (from $100,000 to $134,004 per year) will be effective on that date. Future automatic updates to those thresholds will occur every three years, beginning on January 1, 2020.
You can read the US DOL Wage and Hour Division Fact Sheet that provides more details here.
The Final Rule is not changing any of the existing job duty requirements to qualify for exemption. The Department expects that the standard salary level set in this Final Rule and automatic updating will work effectively with the duties test to distinguish between overtime-eligible workers and those who may be exempt. As a result of the change to the salary level, the number of workers for whom employers must apply the duties test to determine exempt status is reduced, thus simplifying the exemption. Both the standard duties test and the HCE duties test remain unchanged.
For additional information, visit our Wage and Hour Division Website: www.wagehour.dol.gov and/or call our toll-free information and helpline, available 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. in your time zone, 1-866-4-USWAGE (1-866-487-9243).