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The DOL’s New 2019 Overtime Proposal Has Arrived

On March 7, 2019, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) unveiled its new overtime proposal in a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM), which would update the salary thresholds according to which workers are entitled to overtime compensation. According to the proposal, the new salary level will increase from $455 per week (which amounts to $23,660 annually) to $679 per week (which amounts to $35,308 annually). If the proposal becomes final, this would be the first increase to the salary level since 2004.

The NPRM updates the salary level with projections using current wage data to January 1, 2020. It also calls for periodic review—not automatic adjustments—to update the salary level, which would still require notice-and-comment rulemaking.

According to a DOL press release on the proposal, the NPRM does not change the overtime eligibility for a number of jobs, including “police officers, fire fighters, paramedics, nurses, and laborers including: non-management production-line employees and non-management employees in maintenance, construction and similar occupations such as carpenters, electricians, mechanics, plumbers, iron workers, craftsmen, operating engineers, longshoremen, and construction workers.”

Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta commented: “At my confirmation hearings, I committed to an update of the 2004 overtime threshold, and today’s proposal would bring common sense, consistency, and higher wages to working Americans.”

The latest proposal comes after the DOL gathered input from interested parties at six in-person listening sessions that it held in cities across the United States in the Fall of 2018 and from its July 2017 Request for Information (RFI) on the Part 541 overtime regulations. Commenting on the overwhelming public input, Acting Administrator for the Department’s Wage and Hour Division Keith Sonderling noted that, “Commenters on the RFI and in-person sessions overwhelmingly agreed that the 2004 levels need to be updated.”

In November 2017, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit has granted a motion filed by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) to hold in abeyance the DOL’s appeal of a district court decision that invalidated controversial federal overtime regulations the Obama administration promulgated in 2016.

The new proposal is expected to be published in the Federal Register next week. The DOL has invited interested parties to submit comments about the new proposal for 60 days following the rule’s publication in the Federal Register.

© 2019, Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart, P.C., All Rights Reserved.

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Alfred B. Robinson, Jr., Ogletree Deakins, Employment Compliance Lawyer, recordkeeping requirements attorney
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Mr. Robinson has practiced labor and employment law and advised business clients on employment compliance issues for most of his career.  His practice focuses on wage and hour matters and he is Co-Chair of the firm’s Wage and Hour Practice Group.  His wage and hour practice covers minimum wage, overtime, child labor and recordkeeping requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), the Davis-Bacon Act (DBA), the Service Contract Act (SCA), the Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act (MSPA), and a number of...

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