DOL Issues New Wage and Hour Overtime Regulations

July 2016

On May 18, the Department of Labor issued a new rule that updates the regulations determining which white-collar, salaried employees are entitled to the Fair Labor Standards Act’s minimum wage and overtime pay protections.
    
The updates will impact 4.2 million workers who will either gain new overtime protections or get a raise to the new salary threshold.
    
Key provisions of the final rule include the following:
    
The final rule focuses primarily on updating the salary and compensation levels needed for executive, administrative and professional workers to be exempt. Specifically, the final rule:

  • 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 ($913 per week; $47,476 annually for a full-year worker).
     
  • 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 ($134,004).
     
  • 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 effective date of the final rule is Dec. 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 Jan. 1, 2020.