Human Resources News & Insights

DOL: New overtime regs are ‘months away’

HR pros were expecting to sit down to Thanksgiving dinner with new overtime regulations and “white collar” exemptions in hand. But now, the Department of Labor (DOL) is saying that won’t happen. So when will the new regs arrive? 

“We are months away from a proposed regulation,” said M. Patricia Smith, solicitor of labor, at a briefing in New York City.

Back in March, President Obama issued an Executive Order to DOL Secretary Thomas Perez to update the regulations regarding overtime exemptions.

In a nutshell, the goal was to make more U.S. workers eligible for overtime compensation.

Based on Obama’s order and comments on the issue, it was expected the DOL would make significant changes to both the minimum salary employees must be paid to be exempt from overtime pay and the “duties test.”

Original deadline was November

In its Semiannual Regulatory Agenda released this past spring, the Obama Administration assigned a date of proposed rulemaking of November 2014 to the regulations.

The DOL wasn’t bound to that date, but it was expected that it would have put something on the table by the time December rolled around.

That’s clearly not going to happen now.

At the briefing in New York City, Smith said the hope was to roll something out early in the new year.

The new timeline

The delay in the proposed rulemaking process likely means employers don’t have to worry about new overtime regulations kicking in until sometime in 2016.

At this point, the only way the new regs kick in next year is if the Obama Administration fast-tracks the rules.

But even then, a public comment period would still have to be held (and those typically last at least 30 days), the DOL would have to take time to review the comments received, and a final draft of the regs would need to be written and approved by the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs.

In other words, it would take months for the regs to actually take effect after they are proposed. Plus, the DOL might have to allow some time for employers to gear up for the new regs before making them kick in — hence the 2016 prediction.

What will the regs look like?

Curious what shape the new regs will take? Check out these predictions by Tammy McCutchen, a former administrator of the DOL’s Wage and Hour Division.

McCutchen has sat in on a number of “listening sessions” with DOL Secretary Perez on the current rulemaking process, and she shared her insights at the recent Society for Human Resource Management Conference & Expo in Orlando, FL.

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