Don’t look for release of those controversial changes to federalanytime soon.
While the U.S. Department of Labor issued the proposed rule changes in June 2015, the final regulations (and subsequent effective date) won’t likely appear before late in 2016, said the DOL’s Solicitor of Labor Patricia Smith at a conference earlier this month. Employers had expected the final rules to be unveiled in late 2015 or early 2016.
Smith’s revealing of the timeline “elicited gasps” from the audience at the American Bar Association’sConference in Philadelphia, according to a report in The Wall Street Journal.
Why the longer lead-up time? The public comment period that ended Sept. 4 elicited more than 247,000 comments and the DOL must wade through them to draft the final rule. The Society for Human Resource(SHRM) opposed the changes, citing the resulting higher costs, fewer opportunities to work overtime and less workplace flexibility for employers and employees alike.
What the proposed rules say: The Obama Administration aims to more than double the salary threshold below which qualified administrative, executive and professional employees are guaranteed overtime pay. It would raise the bar to $50,440 per year, up from the current $23,660. The DOL estimates this will make at least 5 million workers eligible for overtime pay for the first time.
The proposed rule doesn’t change the duties test that defines what constitutes administrative, executive and professional work. But it did leave open the possibility to issue such changes in the final regulations next year.
In 2004 (the last timechanged), the DOL gave employers four months from the announcement of final rules until the effective date. A SHRM report last week said this delay until late 2016 will likely mean a shorter time between publication of the final rules and the effective date (possibly as short as 30 days).