- The public comment period for the Department of Labor’s (DOL) proposed changes to the overtime regulations ended on September 4th, 2015.
- Almost 250,000 comments were received, which represent the diverse views on the proposed changes—particularly the steep increase to the salary level required for exemption, according to an article at HR.BLR.com.
- Through its proposed changes, the DOL looks to raise the salary threshold to about $970 a week ($50,440 a year) in 2016. The current minimum salary a worker has to be paid to be exempt from overtime is $455 per week or $23,660 per year.
A quarter-million comments is a strong indicator of the controversy swirling around the DOL changes. Susan Price, editor at HR.BLR, writes that the public comments submitted represent the diverse and varying opinions of employees, employers, political parties, nonprofit organizations, labor unions, trade organizations and more.
According to Price, many comments expressed opinions against the amount of the increase in the salary threshold, stating that the proposed salary threshold does not take into consideration the needs and specific circumstances of different industries and geographic regions.
No surprise that many employers and employer groups submitted comments stating they felt the increase would place too costly a burden on employers, while employees submitted comments in favor of raising the threshold.
Price, an attorney, advises that employers should figure out which jobs are likely to shift categories under the DOL’s proposed regulations, then ensure overtime for non-exempt employees has been properly calculated. Conducting a self-audit helps ensure compliance with federal and state laws.