Coming Soon: The New, New DOL Overtime Rule?

Remember the new DOL overtime pay rule that got stalled out in court near last Thanksgiving? You know, days before the rule was set to go effective? It’s the one that would have doubled the salary basis threshold for an employee to be exempt from overtime pay. Well, Labor Secretary Acosta recently announced at a House Committee hearing that the DOL will publish an RFI for public comments on what the new salary threshold should be.

That’s federal G-man code for: The DOL is seriously thinking about issuing a new, new overtime pay rule.

But where would the DOL likely set the threshold? Secretary Acosta said, during a Senate confirmation hearing, that he thought the right move was to follow inflation. That would take the threshold, he said, from $23,660 where it is today up to “someplace around $33,000.”

Employees who earn less than the threshold can’t be overtime exempt. No way, no how. Folks earning under it must get overtime pay. At least, that’s true for the most common overtime pay exemptions – known as the “white collar” exemptions.

Although our crystal ball isn’t always right, this one we nailed. Back in November 2016, we wrote an article for the Corporate Counsel Review that took a stab at predicting the salary basis threshold’s fate:

Our bet: The salary basis threshold will increase by some amount over the next several years. President Trump doesn’t seem opposed to it – and he’ll have bigger fish to fry early in his administration. Whether the Fifth Circuit lifts the injunction or a President Trump DOL issues another rule with a lower salary basis threshold, the threshold still goes up. Either way, employers would be wise to shore up their overtime pay practices now to avoid a fire drill later on.

Employers had better get on it. Let’s shore up our overtime pay practices now, so we don’t face a new round of off-the-clock work class lawsuits from the newly-overtime eligible employees (and our folks who already get overtime pay). Read the full article in the Corporate Counsel Review here.

We’ll keep you posted on what the DOL does. Stay tuned.