Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez announced today that the U.S. Department of Labor has submitted a proposed rule on the white-collar FLSA overtime exemptions to the federal Office of Management and Budget, which means that the proposed revisions to the overtime regulations could be made public before long.
Although the specifics are not known at this time, the proposed rule is expected to make it more difficult for employers to claim that certain salaried workers are exempt from the overtime requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act. This could happen in two ways: (1) by raising the minimum weekly salary necessary to qualify for an exemption from its current level of $455 a week, or (2) by raising the percentage of time that an employee must spend performing “exempt” job duties before the employee qualifies for the exemption. (Either one of these changes, or both, could be made.)
The proposed rule is in response to a memorandum issued by President Obama on March 13, 2014, directing the Secretary to “update” the current regulations. According to a White House fact sheet issued at the time, the current salary threshold “has failed to keep up with inflation, only being updated twice in the last 40 years and leaving millions of low-paid, salaried workers without these basic protections.”
The salary threshold was last increased in 2004, during the Bush Administration.