UPDATE: On October 30, 2017, the Department of Justice, on behalf of the Department of Labor (DOL), appealed the U.S. District Court’s August decision that the FLSA overtime rule is invalid. At the same time, the DOL said it intends to ask the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals to "hold" that appeal indefinitely while they continue their rulemaking to determine what the new salary level threshold should be. It’s a tactic that will allow the DOL to maintain its authority to establish overtime regulations and, at the same time, give them time to review the more than 140,000 comments received from their "request for Information" (RFI). The DOL intends to issue a proposed rule sometime in 2018 and there has been speculation that the salary threshold in the new rule will be in the $30,000-$35,000 range.
On August 31, 2017 U.S. District Judge Amos Mazzant officially concluded that the FLSA overtime rule is invalid. This decision stemmed from a lawsuit brought forth last year. That lawsuit created a nationwide injunction for all employers blocking the DOL from implementing the new exemption rule that was intended to take effect on December 1, 2016.
What does this mean for employers? Nothing has changed. This latest development doesn’t change the current course of action employers have already taken in response to last year’s injunction. Employers should continue to update their job descriptions and ensure that their jobs meet one or more of the FLSA’s "white collar" duties tests (Executive, Administrative, Professional, Computer and Outside Sales). The DOL is focusing its efforts on further rulemaking and had issued a "request for information" (RFI) asking the public for input to help guide them in potentially creating new rules.
The RFI was seeking comment and information on 11 particular questions, including whether the standard salary level set in that rule effectively identifies employees who may be exempt, whether a different salary level would more appropriately identify such employees, and whether changes to the duties test would be necessary to sync up the exemption to the salary level.
Background: Back on November 22, 2016, a Texas federal judge issued a preliminary nationwide injunction for all employers blocking the DOL from implementing the new exemption rule, also known as the FLSA overtime rule. On December 1, 2016, the Department of Justice, on behalf of the DOL, filed a notice with the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit to appeal that preliminary injunction. Opening briefs and corresponding responses were due by March 2, 2017, however repeated extensions ensued.
MRA is continually monitoring any updates to the FLSA exemption rules and will provide updates as they become available.
Source: Lynell Meeth, HR Business Advisor, MRA – The Management Association