Lawsuits Challenge DOL’s New Overtime Regulations For Management Staff

The Department of Labor’s new regulations regarding the executive exemptions to overtime go into effect on December 1. These regulations raise the weekly salary requirement for the executive, administrative, and professional exemptions, as well as the annual salary requirement for the highly compensated employee exemption. The new regulations also call for automatic increases every three years tied to surveys of compensation levels at the time.

We do not know yet if the lawsuits just filed in September in Texas challenge the new regulations will be successful.

Key Provisions of the Final Rule
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); and
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 December 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 on January 1, 2020.

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