Reforming Federal Overtime Rules

America’s middle-class workers are spending more hours at work than ever before, and yet are still falling behind. The erosion of overtime pay is a key factor in the deterioration of middle-class wages and living standards. Reform of the nation’s overtime rules is much needed and long overdue.

The U.S. Department of Labor has proposed updated rules governing to whom overtime must be paid. You’ll find NELP’s recently submitted comments to the proposed regulations, plus other overtime pay resources, below.

Comments on USDOL's Proposed Overtime Reforms

In early September 2015, NELP submitted detailed comments in support of the U.S. Labor Department’s proposed update of the federal overtime pay rules. NELP’s comments included discussion of the following:

  • the Labor Department’s authority to revise and index the salary threshold;
  • the historical purpose of the overtime rules, i.e., to limit excessive work hours and spread employment;
  • the need for a higher salary threshold that simplifies the application of the executive, administrative, and professional exemptions from minimum wage and overtime coverage, and the need for annual indexing of the threshold to avoid its erosion in the future;
  • our recommendation of a bright-line duties test, e.g., requiring that at least 50 percent of an employee’s time be spent on exempt work to qualify for exemption; and
  • the kinds of workers who will benefit from the rules change.

Download the comments here.

Report: The Case for Reforming Federal Overtime Rules

Clearer overtime regulations with more bright-line rules will benefit both workers and employers, both of whom deserve certainty and ease of evaluating positions. The Case for Reforming Federal Overtime Rules: Stories from America’s Middle Class provides the following recommendations for reforming America’s overtime rules:

  1. Significantly raise the salary threshold. The current overtime salary threshold of $455 per week was set in 2004 and is not annually adjusted for inflation.
  2. Clarify that an exempt worker cannot spend more than half of his time in non-exempt work. The current regulations provide no such definition, giving employers the incentive to give workers scant qualifying duties and still exclude them from overtime coverage.
  3. Specify that workers must exercise real independent judgment in how to do one’s job. If an employee cannot truly exercise independent judgment in performing the job, that worker should not be FLSA-exempt.

Download the full report here.


It's time to fix overtime!

Millions of Americans are working overtime and not getting paid for it. That’s because overtime rules—which require employers to pay workers for time beyond 40 hours a week—have been severely weakened since 1975.

This is easy to fix. The Department of Labor just proposed a plan to protect an estimated five million additional workers from overtime abuse. And now they need to hear from you. Sign the petition by clicking the image below:


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