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Department of Labor Proposes New Rules to Strengthen Overtime Protections for Low-Paid Workers

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On August 30th, the Department of Labor (DOL) announced their plans to update and revise regulations under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) pertaining to low-income salaried employees. Specifically, the DOL is planning to increase the salary threshold for previously exempted employees, increasing their access to minimum wage and overtime protections found in the FLSA.

How is the DOL Strengthening Overtime Protections?

The FLSA provides wage and overtime protections for most employees. There is an exception or, in the Fair Labor Standards Act’s words, an “exemption” from overtime rules.

Section 13(a)(1) of the FLSA – commonly known as the “white collar” or “EAP” exemptions provision – allows companies to claim “bona fide” EAP employees as exempt from overtime protections if they make a salary above a certain threshold and perform specific job duties that are outlined in the DOL’s regulations.

At the moment, the salary requirement is at $684 per week. The DOL is proposing to increase that requirement to $1,059 per week (about $55,000 per year).

What Would These Changes Mean for Employees?

Currently, a worker that performs exempt duties and makes a salary of over $35,568 is not entitled to overtime compensation under the FLSA. If the proposed rule goes into effect, then the salary requirement becomes $1059 per week (approximately $55,000 per year). [1] The DOL estimates that 3.4 million currently-exempt employees who earn at least the current salary level of $684 per week but less than the proposed standard salary level of $1,059 per week would, gain FLSA overtime protection.

This will have a big impact on employers and employees. Both sides will be watching how the DOL’s proposal plays out.

The overtime rules can be complicated, and a salary alone isn’t usually enough to mean that you aren’t entitled to overtime pay. If you would like to speak to an experienced employment lawyer, contact us online or by phone at (513)202-0710.


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