On Wednesday, May 18th, 2016, The Obama Administration announced a significant expansion of who qualifies for overtime pay under federal labor laws. The Department of Labor has issued the Final Rule, which centers primarily on updating the salary and compensation levels needed for executive, administrative and professional workers to be exempt from overtime pay protections.
The Final Rule increases the salary threshold from $23,660 to $47,476, which is the 40th percentile of earnings of full-time salaried workers in the lowest-wage Census Region of the United States. The Department of Labor projects the policy to extend overtime protections to an additional 4.2 million workers, as anyone earning less than the salary threshold is now eligible for overtime payments.
The Final Rule also sets the total annual compensation requirement for highly compensated employees at $134,004, which is the annual equivalent of the 90th percentile of full-time salaried workers in the United States. The Final Rule also amends the salary basis test to allow employers to utilize non-discretionary bonuses and incentive payments to account for up to 10% of the new standard salary level. Lastly, the ruling establishes a procedure for automatically updating the salary and compensation levels every three years to maintain the levels at the 40th and 90th percentiles of earnings.
The Final Rule will take effect on December 1, 2016, giving employers over six months to prepare and adjust their payment policies. In response, employers will have the options to pay time-and-a-half for overtime work, raise workers’ salaries above the new salary threshold, limit workers’ hours to 40 hours per week, or a combination of the above.
For more information on the new overtime ruling, please visit http://www.dol.gov/featured/overtime.
Video from the Department of Labor: