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DOL working overtime on overtime rules change

overtime rules, Department of Labor, DOL, businessMany employers have been in limbo for quite some time now regarding the Department of Labor’s (DOL) regulation for overtime rules. It significantly increased the salary level under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FSLA) white-collar exemption, more than doubling the current salary requirement.

This Act under the Obama administration was blocked on November 22, 2016 via a Texas federal judge’s preliminary nationwide injunction preventing implementation of the new rule. The judge, in his ruling, said that the DOL exceeded its authority under the FSLA and ignored Congress’s intent by requiring employers to pay overtime wages based on salary rather than an employee’s duties. The injunction has since been in appeals and with repeated extensions.

Then on June 27, 2017 the Department of Labor (DOL) submitted a “request for information” (RFI) on the overtime rules. An RFI is a tool typically used by the DOL in an effort to seek public input on the new rules or changes to existing rules. In addition, in a briefing filed by the DOL as part of the lawsuit challenging the new rule, the agency had decided NOT to advocate for the specific salary level that was set in the Obama Administration’s final rule (that OT was applicable to anyone earning $913 a week, or $47,476 a year).

This would indicate that the DOL intends to take more time to fully evaluate the impact the proposed overtime rule will have on businesses. Business groups have been asserting that the rule change as currently written would be harmful to business.

Dale F. Jensen, CPA