Not content to wait on the federal Dept. of Labor (DOL) to update exempt/nonexempt OT rules, the state of Washington announced this week it’s moving ahead with consideration of a new limit of $80,000, more than three times the current salary exemption level of $23,660.
The proposed rules being finalized by the state would be phased in starting next year, unless changes are made during the coming public comment period.
By 2026, a salaried executive, administrative or professional worker would have to be making nearly $80,000 per year to be exempt from overtime pay after working more than 40 hours in a work week.
Business groups in the state refer to the proposal as a “super minimum wage.”
Other states’ updated OT rules
California is currently phasing its overtime threshold up to $62,400, New York is phasing its up to $58,500, and Pennsylvania has announced a rule raising its threshold to $47,000. Massachusetts is holding a hearing on a bill to raise its overtime threshold to $65,000.
“The Washington proposal is the boldest overtime pay restoration effort currently among the states,” Paul Sonn, state policy director with the National Employment Law Project, told the Associated Press. “We think it will spur other states to follow Washington’s lead.”
Current federal overtime provisions are contained in the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Unless exempt, employees covered by the FLSA must receive overtime pay for hours worked over 40 in a workweek.
The salary test presently requires workers to make at least $23,660 on an annual basis to be exempt from overtime.
In March 2014, President Obama directed the Secretary of Labor to update the overtime regulations in the FLSA.
In May 2016, the DOL issued a final rule that raised the minimum salary threshold to $47,476 per year. That rule was declared invalid by the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, and the Fifth Circuit dismissed the Department of Labor’s appeal – at the DOL’s request – in September 2017.
The DOL is now proposing to formally rescind the 2016 rule and is proposing a new rule that raises the salary threshold from $455 per week ($23,660 per year) to $679 per week ($35,308 per year).