Proposal to Limit White-Collar Overtime Exemption Expected in November, DOL Says

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May 27 — The proposed rule limiting the white-collar overtime exemption is likely to be published in November, according to the Spring 2014 semiannual regulatory agenda issued by the Labor Department May 23.

The proposed rule on “Defining and Delimiting the Exemptions for Executive, Administrative, Professional, Outside Sales and Computer Employees” (RIN 1235-AA11) is intended to streamline the so-called white-collar overtime exemption in the Fair Labor Standards Act that excludes some high-level and managerial employes from overtime pay. Under the current exemption, employees who earn as little as $455 per week on a salary basis may be excluded from overtime pay.

In March, President Barack Obama ordered the Labor Department to revamp the exemption. Obama said he wants to make more workers eligible for overtime and to address the changing nature of the American workplace, where the concept of a workday has become more amorphous as workers increasingly log in to their workplaces from home computers and mobile devices.

The white-collar exemption's low salary threshold means that “unfortunately, today, millions of Americans aren't getting the extra pay they deserve” because “an exception that was originally meant for high-paid, white-collar employees now covers workers earning as little as $23,660 a year,” Obama said.

Another anticipated Labor Department regulation, the persuader rule, is expected to be issued in December, according to the agenda. The DOL's Office of Labor-Management Standards intends to publish a final rule on “Persuader Agreements: Employer and Labor Relations Consultant Reporting Under the LMRDA” (RIN 1245-AA03).

The rule would expand the reporting requirements under Section 203(b) of the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act when an employer hires a labor relations consultant to thwart its employees' unionization attempts if the consultant engages in persuader activities that go beyond the plain meaning of advice, even if the consultant has no direct contact with workers.

In addition, the DOL's Wage and Hour Division is working on a proposed rule titled “Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993, as Amended” (RIN 1235-AA09). According to the agenda, by the end of May, the WHD says it will propose a rule to revise the definition of “spouse” in the FMLA regulations in light of the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in United States v. Windsor, 133 S. Ct. 2675, 118 FEP Cases 1417 (2013). In that case, the justices struck down the Defense of Marriage Act's exclusion of state-sanctioned, same-sex marriages from the federal definition of marriage.

In June, the WHD is expected to issue a proposed rule, “Establishing a Minimum Wage for Contractors, Executive Order 13658” (RIN 1235-AA10), the agenda said. President Barack Obama signed an executive order Feb. 12 that will raise the minimum wage to $10.10 per hour for workers under new and renegotiated federal contracts and index the wage rate to inflation after that. This rule would implement the executive order.

Text of the regulatory agenda is available at