Interestingly, in the final regulations, the WHD tied the new minimum salary level to the 40th percentile of all salaried employees in the lowest-wage region of the country’s five Census Regions. Those five regions are the Northeast, the Southeast, the Midwest, the Southwest, and the West. Of the five regions, the Southeast currently has the lowest wages.
The new salary requirements will apply to the FLSA’s executive, administrative, and professional exemptions. Employees who do not meet the new salary requirements when the final regulations become effective will no longer qualify for one of these exemptions, which means they will have to be paid overtime compensation when they work more than 40 hours in a workweek.
Other major highlights from the final regulations include the following:
The minimum salary level will be adjusted every three years to track the 40th percentile of the lowest wage Census Region, whether that is the Southeast or one of the other four Census Regions.
For the first time, employers will be able to use nondiscretionary bonuses and incentive payments (including commissions) to satisfy up to 10 percent of the standard salary level, as long as those payments are made on a quarterly or more frequent basis.
The total compensation requirement to qualify for the highly compensated employee (HCE) exemption will increase from $100,000 per year to $134,004 per year, which is based on the 90th percentile of earnings for full-time salaried workers in the United States, without regard to regional differences.
The total compensation requirement for the HCE exemption also will be adjusted every three years so that it continues to correspond to the 90th percentile.
The DOL will formally release the final regulations on Wednesday, May 18, and they should be published in the Federal Register within a matter of days. The final regulations will become effective on Thursday, December 1, 2016, which means that employers will have approximately six and one-half months to make whatever changes are necessary to comply with the new requirements. This is a longer time period than had been anticipated.
Ogletree Deakins will continue to cover the final regulations in depth on our Wage and Hour blog in addition to the firm’s Overtime Solutions Center, which includes a variety of resources on the overtime rule and is frequently updated.
For a detailed discussion of the new regulations, join us for a one-hour webinar, “The Final Overtime Regulations: What The New Minimum Salary Requirements Mean for Employers,” on Friday, May 20, 2016, at 2:00 p.m. Eastern. Our speakers, Washington, D.C. shareholder Alfred B. Robinson, Jr. and Greenville, S.C. shareholder Charles E. McDonald III, will explain the new overtime regulations, their impact on employers, and what the future may bring. To register for this timely program, click here.
Steven (“Steve”) Pockrass is Co-Chair of the firm’s Wage and Hour Practice Group. In this position, he helps clients and attorneys throughout the firm deliver proactive and responsive solutions to federal and state wage-hour questions and concerns. Steve coordinates wage-hour resources within the firm and works on a variety of wage-related issues, ranging from evaluating whether certain job positions are properly classified to defending collective and class actions. In...