January 2017 Bar Bulletin
Addenda - FLSA Rules
In the December Bar Bulletin, we reported on “Ten Tips for Navigating the New FLSA Rules.” Shortly before publication, and before we could stop the presses, a Texas federal court judge issued an emergency order stopping the Department of Labor’s new overtime rules from taking effect nationwide on December 1. The new overtime rules were set to increase the minimum salary level for exempt employees from $455 per week ($23,660 annually) to $913 per week ($47,476 annually).
However, in a challenge to that rule, a coalition of private businesses and state governments filed suit in federal court seeking an emergency order that the regulations exceeded the Department of Labor’s authority to implement them. The court agreed, ruling that Congress did not intend the Department of Labor to define a minimum salary level for exempt employees. As a result of this ruling, employers do not need to comply with the new salary levels at this time. However, employers should continue to apply the previous standard set by the Department of Labor’s 2004 regulations ($455/week or $23,660 annually).
The DOL filed an appeal of the court’s order in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. Although the appeal will be fast-tracked, the DOL will not file its final brief until after the presidential inauguration. It is possible the Trump Administration might instruct the DOL to abandon the appeal.
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