Today, the U.S. Department of Labor (“DOL”) issued the final version of the much-anticipated new Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) regulations regarding the salary threshold for exempt employees. This post provides employers with insight into how to understand, and ultimately apply, the new regulations, which will affect employers of all sizes in all industries across the country.
I. HISTORY OF THE NEW OVERTIME REGULATIONS
The FLSA provides an exemption from the overtime pay requirement for workers employed as executive, administrative, and professional employees (“exempt white-collar employees”). The FLSA also exempts from overtime pay highly compensated employees (“HCEs”).
To be exempt, an employee must meet three criteria: (a) the employee must be paid on a predetermined “salary basis” (i.e., the employee’s predetermined salary cannot be reduced because of variations in the quality or quantity of work performed); (b) the employee’s salary must meet a minimum salary threshold (currently $455 per week; i.e., $23,660 per year); and (c) the employee must meet the “duties” test of the applicable exemption (i.e., the employee must perform certain white-collar job duties).
On March 13, 2014, President Barack Obama signed a memorandum directing the DOL to update the FLSA’s overtime regulations governing exempt white-collar employees. On July 6, 2015, the DOL announced the much-anticipated proposed regulations, which, among other things, more than doubled the salary threshold required for an employee to qualify as an exempt white-collar employee. In July, we advised that the proposed overtime regulations would have a significant impact on all industries and that employers should analyze their current workforce and anticipate where changes should be made rather than wait for the proposed overtime regulations to be finalized.
The DOL received more than 270,000 comments regarding the proposed overtime regulations, and on March 15, 2016, the DOL sent the proposed overtime regulations to the Office of Management and Budget (“OMB”). Read more >>