President Obama instructed the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) yesterday to change regulations to expand the Fair Labor Standards Act’s (FLSA) overtime provisions, in an effort to provide time-and-a-half wages to more employees. The President signed a memorandum instructing his Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez to “update” the DOL’s regulations regarding which employees are exempt from the FLSA’s coverage, and which employees are non-exempt, and thus must be paid time-and-a-half their regular wage rate for all hours worked beyond 40 hours in a week. The White House also issued a “fact-sheet” on the issue.
While it is not clear exactly what the DOL may do in response to the President’s direction, many feel that one likely step will be an attempt by the DOL to amend the FLSA’s regulations to raise the salary requirement employees must meet to qualify as an exempt executive, administrative or professional employee. The current salary requirement is at least $455 per week, an amount established with the last set of DOL changes to the FLSA’s regulations back in 2004. (Prior to 2004, the salary amount was $250, a number which had stayed constant since 1975.)