DOL may issue final OT rule by July 2016

The Fall 2015 Unified Agenda and Regulatory Plan was released by the Office of Management and Budget November 19, 2015, suggesting the DOL’s white collar overtime rules could be out by July 2016. While recently the Unified Agenda has seemed fairly unreliable as a predictor of actual dates, OMB is required to publish a semiannual unified agenda of all regulations that will be under development or review. Agencies submit their proposed regulations to OMB, which then discloses a complete list (the unified agenda) every six months.

Department of Labor’s overtime rule

At the November 2015 ABA Labor & Employment Law Annual Conference in Philadelphia, it was widely reported that DOL’s Solicitor Patricia Smith indicated that the DOL’s final OT regulations would not be released until “late” 2016. The proposed regulations had suggested it could be as early as April or May. But the unified agenda slates the final rule for July 2016.

Key provisions of the proposed rule include: (1) setting the standard salary level required for exemption at the 40th percentile of weekly earnings for full-time salaried workers (projected to be $970 per week, or $50,440 annually, in 2016); (2) increasing the total annual compensation requirement needed to exempt highly compensated employees to the annualized value of the 90th percentile of weekly earnings of full-time salaried workers ($122,148 annually); and (3) establishing a mechanism for automatically updating the salary and compensation levels going forward to ensure that they will continue to provide a useful and effective test for exemption. (OMB Fall 2015 Unified Agenda and Regulatory Plan, November 19, 2015.)

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