New ‘White Collar’ Salary Thresholds Expected Imminently

Employment and Labor Law Tip of the Month

In 2016, the U.S. Department of Labor issued a “final rule,” which, among other changes, would have increased from $455 per week ($23,660 per year) to $913 per week ($47,476 per year) the minimum salary threshold required in order to consider whether an employee may be exempt under the FLSA’s “white collar” exemptions, i.e., the executive, administrative, and professional exemptions. In November 2016, however, implementation of this final rule was blocked by an injunction issued by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. The Department of Labor is now expected to release imminently—perhaps within days—a new Notice of Proposed Rulemaking regarding the white collar exemptions, featuring modified, but still increased, salary thresholds. While these thresholds may not reach the levels set forth in the ill-fated 2016 final rule, they may nonetheless be substantial, possibly reaching into the mid-$30,000s. These potential, forthcoming changes are a reminder to employers to closely assess the exemption status and, in particular, the job duties and responsibilities of their employees, so as to ensure current compliance and be prepared to respond with minimal disruption to these newly-anticipated changes.

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