U.S. Dept. of Labor Issues Proposed Overtime Regulations

U.S. Dept. of Labor Issues Proposed Overtime Regulations

The U.S. Department of Labor announced a proposed rule that would make upwards of a million more American workers eligible for overtime.

The U.S. Department of Labor issued a proposed rule that would expand overtime eligibility under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) to include a significant number of additional workers. The proposal, which is now open to public comment for 60 days, would make more than a million more American workers eligible for overtime, according to the Tire Industry Association.

Under current regulations, in effect since 2004, employees with a salary below $455 per week, or $23,660 annually, are nonexempt and must receive overtime pay for hours worked over 40 hours per week, regardless of whether their duties fall within one of the FLSA exemptions. The new rule would raise the salary threshold from $455 to $679 per week, or $35,308 per year, meaning that employees who earn less than those thresholds will be automatically nonexempt and eligible for overtime on the effective date. Employees earning salaries in excess of either threshold may still be nonexempt and eligible for overtime based on their job duties, according to the Department of Labor. 

This new proposal would update the salary threshold using current wage data, projected to January 1, 2020, TIA said.

The proposed overtime rules maintain overtime protections for a variety of professions, including: police officers, firefighters, paramedics, nurses and laborers including: non-management production-line employees and non-management employees in maintenance, construction and similar occupations such as carpenters, electricians, mechanics, plumbers, iron workers, craftsmen, operating engineers, longshoremen and construction workers, the department said in a press release.

In developing the proposal, the Department received extensive public input from six in-person listening sessions held around the nation and more than 200,000 comments that were received as part of a 2017 Request for Information (RFI). Commenters who participated in response to the RFI or who participated at a listening session overwhelmingly agreed that the currently enforced salary and compensation levels need to be updated.

The proposal revises rules written during the Obama administration that would have doubled the pay threshold at which workers would be exempt from overtime to $47,476, the Washington Post reported. The Trump administration’s current proposal is about halfway between the current threshold and the Obama administration rules. The Obama regulations were scheduled to take effect in 2016 but were put on hold by a federal lawsuit, the Post said.

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