DOL Issues New Final Rule on FLSA Exemptions Vastly Increasing the Number of Employees Eligible for Overtime Pay
Yesterday, the U.S. Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division announced its Final Rule updating the salary requirements for exemptions from overtime pay requirements under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).
The Final Rule more than doubles the salary threshold needed to satisfy the most common exemptions, raising it from $23,660 to $47,476 annually ($455 to $913 weekly), and increases the total annual compensation threshold for the “highly-compensated employee” exemption from $100,000 to $134,004. (Note that employees still must perform job duties that meet the substantive requirements of these exemptions.)
There will be additional, automatic increases in the compensation levels every three years, with the next increase occurring on January 1, 2020. The Final Rule also amends the salary basis test to allow employers to use non-discretionary bonuses and incentive payments (including commissions) to satisfy up to 10 percent of the new standard salary level.
The Final Rule goes into effect December 1, 2016.
The new requirements do not have to result in drastically higher expenses or exposure. What can employers do to minimize the impact? NOW is the time to get your house in order. Start by considering the many legal and business implications of the new Final Rule:
- Identify both sets of employees affected by this change. But also understand that the new Final Rule does not apply to all exemptions.
- How will you evaluate you evaluate the financial impact of the new Final Rule on your business? What are the unique challenges to this analysis?
- There are at least six options available to you for each impacted employee to minimize the financial impact of the new Final Rule. Are you considering all of the options? How do you know which option is best for you?
- Also consider the impact on your company’s administrative functions. Are you thinking about your timekeeping and attendance systems? The way you train your managers and employees? The policies in your handbook? Your benefits packages?
- The new regulations will bring new scrutiny to your employee classifications across the board, not just to the specific employees impacted by the new regulations. Are you ready for that? If there is a silver lining to the new Final Rule, it’s the hidden opportunity to review your entire employee classification system and make appropriate changes without drawing undue attention.
Again, the new salary requirements do not have to mean drastically higher expenses for your business. And, perhaps this presents an opportunity for an overdue examination of your exempt classifications. Please do not hesitate to contact us for guidance to remain in compliance and keep costs in check.Read More
The new salary requirements for overtime exemptions are expected to take effect in 2016. As reported in a previous legal update, the proposed final rule would more than double the salary level required for exemptions applicable to executive, administrative, or professional employees, from $455 per week ($23,660 per year) to $970 per week ($50,440 per year).
Employers are urged to review their payrolls with qualified employment counsel now, and to consider strategies to remain in compliance and keep costs in check. The new salary requirements do not have to result in drastically higher expenses or exposure, but could if appropriate steps are not taken. Please do not hesitate to contact one of our attorneys for guidance.Read More
The “Defend Trade Secrets Act” has passed through Congress and is awaiting signature by President Obama, which is expected any day now. Up to now, trade secrets have been the exclusive province of state law. Although the new law will not displace state laws, it will provide an overlapping set of procedures to protect trade secrets and allow for enforcement of misappropriation claims in federal court.
One key feature of the statute is a “civil seizure” remedy, which under some circumstances would allow a trade secret’s owner to obtain a court order to seize a defendant’s property (such as computers or files) without providing advance notice to the defendant. This remedy would be only temporary and would be appropriate only to the extent the owner can show it is necessary to prevent “propagation or dissemination” of the trade secret leading to irreparable harm. Such an order would require a hearing within seven days after the order (unless otherwise agreed between the parties). The defendant can challenge an improper seizure and potentially recover attorneys’ fees, but the civil seizure remedy still constitutes a powerful tool for protecting trade secrets.
The new law cannot be used simply to prevent a person from entering into an employment relationship, but it gives courts substantial discretion to enjoin acts that could result in use or disclosure of trade secrets. Further, the law provides for immunity and whistleblower protection for an employee who reports a suspected violation of the law to a government agency or officer or an attorney, and employers are required to provide notice of such immunity in contracts governing the use of trade secrets or confidential information.
We would be glad to discuss how this new federal law may affect your business and how you can best comply and make use of its protections.Read More