Often, employers take the most liberties with their salaried workers. They know they must follow federal wage and hour laws regarding hourly workers. However, salaried workers may be subject to harsh working requirements with little recourse. The Department of Labor seeks to change the reality for many salaried workers on the lower end of the earnings spectrum. A proposed rule would mandate overtime pay for salaried workers earning less than $55,000 per year who work more than a 40-hour workweek. The rule would also smooth the process of increasing the threshold in the future.
Employers must pay overtime to salaried white-collar workers earning less than $35,568 annually. Even with the low threshold, there are still scores of lawsuits against employers under the Fair Labor Standards Act for failure to pay overtime as required by law.
The DOL proposes to index the threshold to the 35th percentile of average weekly earnings of full-time salaried workers in the lowest-wage Census Region. The new rules would raise the threshold by roughly 55 percent. The actual amount of the change could be even greater since the final threshold is not definitively set in the proposed rules.
In addition, the DOL is raising the salary-level threshold for highly compensated employees from $107,432 to $143,988. Employees under this amount who perform office work and meet the other elements of the exemption must also be paid overtime if they make under the amount.
In addition, the DOL is also proposing automatic hikes in these thresholds every three years based on employment and earnings data. The indexing would keep the DOL from passing new rules to raise the threshold and go through the extensive rulemaking process.
The rule changes would drastically increase the number of people who must receive overtime. Under federal law, agencies must estimate the impact of their rules. The DOL estimates that approximately 3.6 million additional people would receive overtime under the new rules.
The Rules Will Still Need to Go Through a Lengthy Process
Currently, the rules are in a proposed format. As federal law requires, the agency must solicit and review comments from the public; the public will have 60 days. The agency could take several years to make its way through the rulemaking process. The agency will need to review hundreds of thousands of comments. The DOL has already pushed off proposed rules by several years.
You Can Sue for Violations of the FLSA
Notwithstanding the proposed rules, employers must still follow the Fair Labor Standards Act requirements regarding overtime. If they fail to pay overtime as required, their employees could sue them in a class action lawsuit. Employees should contact an experienced lawyer if they believe their employer has failed to pay them according to the law.
Contact Our Philadelphia Employment Lawyers at Sidkoff, Pincus & Green P.C.
If you believe your employer has underpaid you in violation of the law, contact our Philadelphia employment lawyers at Sidkoff, Pincus & Green P.C. Call us at 215-574-0600 or contact us online to schedule a consultation. Located in Philadelphia, we serve clients in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.