What the New Overtime Rule Means for Workers

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One of the basic principles of the American workplace is that a hard day’s work deserves a fair day’s pay. Simply put, every worker’s time has value. A cornerstone of that promise is the Fair Labor Standards Act’s (FLSA) requirement that when most workers work more than 40 hours in a week, they get paid more. The Department of Labor’s new overtime regulation is restoring and extending this promise for millions more lower-paid salaried workers in the U.S.

Overtime protections have been a critical part of the FLSA since 1938 and were established to protect workers from exploitation and to benefit workers, their families and our communities. Strong overtime protections help build America’s middle class and ensure that workers are not overworked and underpaid.

Some workers are specifically exempt from the FLSA’s minimum wage and overtime protections, including bona fide executive, administrative or professional employees. This exemption, typically referred to as the “EAP” exemption, applies when: 

1. An employee is paid a salary,  

2. The salary is not less than a minimum salary threshold amount, and 

3. The employee primarily performs executive, administrative or professional duties.

While the department increased the minimum salary required for the EAP exemption from overtime pay every 5 to 9 years between 1938 and 1975, long periods between increases to the salary requirement after 1975 have caused an erosion of the real value of the salary threshold, lessening its effectiveness in helping to identify exempt EAP employees.

The department’s new overtime rule was developed based on almost 30 listening sessions across the country and the final rule was issued after reviewing over 33,000 written comments. We heard from a wide variety of members of the public who shared valuable insights to help us develop this Administration’s overtime rule, including from workers who told us: “I would love the opportunity to…be compensated for time worked beyond 40 hours, or alternately be given a raise,” and “I make around $40,000 a year and most week[s] work well over 40 hours (likely in the 45-50 range). This rule change would benefit me greatly and ensure that my time is paid for!” and “Please, I would love to be paid for the extra hours I work!”

The department’s final rule, which will go into effect on July 1, 2024, will increase the standard salary level that helps define and delimit which salaried workers are entitled to overtime pay protections under the FLSA. 

Starting July 1, most salaried workers who earn less than $844 per week will become eligible for overtime pay under the final rule. And on Jan. 1, 2025, most salaried workers who make less than $1,128 per week will become eligible for overtime pay. As these changes occur, job duties will continue to determine overtime exemption status for most salaried employees.

Who will become eligible for overtime pay under the final rule? Currently most salaried workers earning less than $684/week. Starting July 1, 2024, most salaried workers earning less than $844/week. Starting Jan. 1, 2025, most salaried workers earning less than $1,128/week. Starting July 1, 2027, the eligibility thresholds will be updated every three years, based on current wage data. DOL.gov/OT

The rule will also increase the total annual compensation requirement for highly compensated employees (who are not entitled to overtime pay under the FLSA if certain requirements are met) from $107,432 per year to $132,964 per year on July 1, 2024, and then set it equal to $151,164 per year on Jan. 1, 2025.

Starting July 1, 2027, these earnings thresholds will be updated every three years so they keep pace with changes in worker salaries, ensuring that employers can adapt more easily because they’ll know when salary updates will happen and how they’ll be calculated.

The final rule will restore and extend the right to overtime pay to many salaried workers, including workers who historically were entitled to overtime pay under the FLSA because of their lower pay or the type of work they performed. 

We urge workers and employers to visit our website to learn more about the final rule.

Jessica Looman is the administrator for the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division. Follow the Wage and Hour Division on Twitter at @WHD_DOL and LinkedIn

Editor’s note: This blog was edited to correct a typo (changing “administrator” to “administrative.”)


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