As reported in my blog post on this page on June 30, 2015, the United States Department of Labor (“DOL”) issued proposed regulations calling for the revision of the salary test for the “white collar” exemptions to the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”). The recommendation was to raise the minimum salary level for the executive, professional and administrative exemptions from $455 per week to almost double that.
Shortly after the proposed regulation was issued, the DOL opened a 60 day comment period allowing stakeholders to share thoughts on the proposed change and to provide input on how the current duties tests, to which no changes were proposed, were working. The expectation was that a final rule would be issued in early 2016.
It looks like the more realistic time frame is closer to the end of 2016. Just last week, Solicitor of Labor Patricia Smith announced that the volume of comments received and the complexity of the changes necessitated the delay. She stated that as many as 270,000 individuals and business submitted comments and that this was more than three times the number of comments received in 2004, the last time substantive changes were made to the rules. Although the number of comments and the need to review them seems to be a valid reason for delay, the comment about the complexity of the changes causes concern. This may signal that the DOL is considering changes to the duties test, a far more complicated endeavor than simply changes the salary threshold. That is, of course, speculation. However, it appears that the business community is once again in “wait and see” mode on this issue.