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Pennsylvania Plans New Overtime Rules

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf announced his administration's plan to update state overtime pay regulations, including a substantial increase in the salary an employee must earn to be exempt from overtime pay under state law. Under the proposal, the salary threshold would increase over the next four years from the current federal minimum of $23,660 ($455 per week) for professional, executive, and administrative employees to $47,892 ($921 per week) in 2022. According to the announcement, the change is expected to result in 460,000 more Pennsylvania employees, or roughly 7 percent more of the workforce, being eligible for overtime pay.

The proposed rule, expected to be released by the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry in March, appears designed to more gradually reach the salary levels that had been adopted by the U.S. Department of Labor and would have taken effect in December 2016—until they were enjoined by a federal court in Texas. The U.S. Department of Labor has since sought comment on how to replace those proposed rules.

To aid compliance, the proposed Pennsylvania rule is also expected to clarify the duties tests for professional, executive, and administrative employees. After a public comment period, the proposed rule will need approval from a five-member board appointed by the Governor. Legislative approval is not required. The rule-making process is likely to take several months to complete.

The Commonwealth's planned regulatory overhaul serves as a reminder for employers that federal overtime rules merely set a "floor" of required minimum protections for employees, and state law can provide greater rights. Employers must comply with state overtime rules, in addition to the federal Fair Labor Standards Act, to avoid liability for their pay practices.

Copyright © by Ballard Spahr LLP


About this Author

Shannon Farmer, Ballard Spahr Law Firm, Philadelphia, Labor and Employment Attorney

Shannon D. Farmer represents public and private employers in a broad range of labor and employment matters. She conducts collective bargaining negotiations and interest arbitrations, defends employers in all types of civil rights claims, and provides advice and training related to employment policies and other HR needs.

Kelley Kindig, Ballard Spahr Law Firm, Labor and Employment Litigation Attorney
Of Counsel

Kelly T. Kindig represents public and private employers in a broad range of employment litigation and counseling and labor matters. She helps clients develop employment policies relating to personnel and employment law issues and advises clients regarding compliance with various employment and labor laws, including Title VII, FMLA, FLSA, ADA, NLRA, and LMRA.

Ms. Kindig also counsels on hiring, firing, and disciplinary practices, as well as restrictive covenant matters. She is experienced with collective action litigation under the FLSA and ADEA and defends employers in employment litigation, including race, sex, and age discrimination, and sexual harassment lawsuits. Ms. Kindig represents employers in collective bargaining negotiations and labor arbitrations, as well as unfair labor practice charges and representation petitions filed with federal and state administrative agencies.

Noah Goodman, Ballard Spahr Law Firm, Philadelphia, Labor and Employment Attorney

Noah Goodman drafts federal court memoranda and position statements before administrative agencies. He also conducts research and advises employers on issues related to restrictive covenants, trade secrets, and unfair competition.

Prior to joining the firm, he oversaw a political campaign for a former Philadelphia City Councilman. Mr. Goodman also writes on collective bargaining issues in professional sports and was selected to present his law review comment, The Evolution and Decline of Free Agency in Major League Baseball, at the 28th...