The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) published the final version of its new overtime regulations Wednesday morning, heralding a significant change to the exemption rules that is likely to disqualify millions of workers from their current exempt status before the end of this year.
When President Obama directed the Department of Labor last year to make its Fair Labor Standards Act overtime regulations simpler for businesses and workers to understand, many observers expected the agency to propose comprehensive revisions to the confusing “duties tests.” After all, the duties tests, which are part of the criteria an employer must satisfy to show that an employee is exempt from FLSA’s overtime and minimum wage requirements, are famous for their imprecision and indifference toward the realities of the American workplace.
It has been rumored for some time that the Department of Labor’s new overtime regulations would raise substantially the salary a worker must be paid in order to qualify for a white collar exemption. Monday evening, President Obama confirmed that the new DOL regulations will raise the required salary from $23,660 a year — where it has stood since 2004 — to $50,400 a year. The President said this change will expand overtime to five million additional workers, but some estimates place the number of affected workers much higher.
The West Virginia Division of Labor has withdrawn proposed emergency regulations that would have altered the wage and hour landscape for most West Virginia employers.
Just before noon on Tuesday, December 23, Acting DOL Commissioner John Junkins filed a letter with the Secretary of State withdrawing the proposed regulations “to address concerns raised by West Virginia employers about the impact of the rule.” Junkins wrote that the DOL will file an amended set of proposed regulations during the upcoming legislative session that will be submitted through the standard rulemaking process, rather than as emergency rules. “This will afford all stakeholders an adequate opportunity to communicate their concerns to the agency and resolve any confusion related to the scope and intent of the regulation,” Junkins wrote.
The proposed regulations, which the DOL had made public on November 19, conflicted with federal wage and hour rules in many important respects, as we detailed here. They were set to become effective on December 31.
The West Virginia Division of Labor (DOL) has proposed emergency regulations that, if enforced in their present form, could force nearly all West Virginia employers to change, by December 31, 2014, a number of common wage and hour practices that comply with longstanding federal regulations.
Although the DOL’s emergency rules purport to adopt vast portions of federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) regulations, they simultaneously impose several new rules that contradict or otherwise differ from those same federal regulations, particularly as they relate to the determination of what constitutes compensable working time. If applied broadly, the new rules will require West Virginia employers to depart from FLSA standards in at least the following areas:
If you attended any of our Fall Labor Seminars last year, you heard Jamie Leary’s quick summary of issues of immediate concern to employers under the so-called Affordable Care Act (“ACA”).
As Jamie said during her update, and as you know from a glance at any newspaper these days, the ACA is evolving by the moment. If you’d like to catch up on the current state of all things ACA, tune into Jamie’s webcast on February 27. Click here for a quick preview. Although we certainly won’t have all the answers at that point, Jamie will tell you what’s for certain and what’s to come.
We’d love for you to join us!
You read this blog because you know that it’s critical to keep up with emerging issues in labor and employment law. If you’re interested in a deeper discussion of a few hot HR topics, consider joining us for the 2013 Steptoe & Johnson Fall Labor Seminar Series. We offer these seminars in several cities each fall as a free service to clients and friends of our firm. Topics this year will include a discussion of how to win (or lose) an employment case, an advanced look at the FMLA, and pointers on how to avoid drowning in the growing wave of wage and hour litigation.
If you’re accustomed to seminars where discussions of labor and employment law are premised on (boring) outlines of statutes and regulations, you’ll find this one to be different. We’ll base our discussions on real-world factual scenarios and help you see how the law applies instead of just telling you what it is. We think you’ll find this new approach to be more interesting and helpful. We’ll also give you a nice lunch, and you’ll get to spend some time with a fun bunch of people. (Yes, lawyers can be fun people).
The seminars will run from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on the dates listed below. We hope you’ll join us. To request an invitation, simply click here.
• September 12 – Canonsburg, PA at the Hilton Garden Inn Pittsburgh/Southpointe
• October 2 – Morgantown, WV at the Waterfront Place Hotel
• October 30 – Martinsburg, WV at the Martinsburg Holiday Inn
• November 22 – Beckley, WV at Tamarack
Judging from statistics, you have a greater chance of being sued right now for a wage and hour violation than for any other employment-related issue. Lawsuits filed under the Fair Labor Standards Act, the federal law that governs wage and hour, have risen by about 15 percent a year over the last several years. Collective action lawsuits under FLSA, which are claims brought on behalf of a group of claimants, now outnumber all other employment-related class actions combined.