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DOL Requests Feedback on Overtime Rule

On July 27, 2017 by Schnader in Labor and Employment

By Jo Bennett

The U.S. Department of Labor is seeking public input on what to do with the Obama administration overtime rule.  In Wednesday’s edition of the Federal Register, the DOL published a “Request for Information Defining and Delimiting the Exemptions for Executive, Administrative, Professional, Outside Sales and Computer Employees.”  Interested parties will have 60 days (until September 25, 2017) to provide comments.  A preview of the RFI is available here.

By way of recap, the DOL published the 2016 Final Rule on May 23, 2016 as part of the Obama administration’s focus on increasing pay equity. Under the Final Rule, the minimum salary required to classify workers as exempt was increased from $23,660 to $47,476, which is the 40th percentile of average weekly wages of full-time salaried employees according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The rule was set to go into effect on December 1, 2016, but a federal judge in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas blocked the regulation nationwide. The case is currently pending before the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. At issue is whether the DOL has the authority to utilize a salary level test in determining the exempt status of executive, administrative and professional employees.

The Trump administration is no longer advocating the salary level ($913 per week) set forth in the 2016 Rule.  Citing Executive Order 13777, which tasked federal agencies with identifying for modification any regulations that inhibit job creation or interfere with regulatory reform policies, the DOL says it is evaluating the 2016 Final Rule with a focus on lowering regulatory burden.

The request for information seeks comment on the salary level test, the duties test, standard salary levels, the inclusion of non-discretionary bonuses and incentive payments in standard salary levels, and the exemption for highly compensated employees.  In addition, it solicits feedback about the impact that the 2016 Final Rule had on employers who made changes in anticipation of the effective date.