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MY BOSS SAYS . . . I'll be eligible for overtime at the end of the year due to new rules. What do the new rules say?

The Department of Labor has issued its final rule updating overtime regulations, which will automatically extend overtime pay protections to over 4 million workers within the first year of implementation.

The final rule focuses primarily on updating the salary and compensation levels needed for Executive, Administrative and Professional workers to be exempt. Specifically, the final rule:

1. Sets the standard salary level at the 40th percentile of earnings of full-time salaried workers in the lowest-wage Census Region, currently the South ($913 per week; $47,476 annually for a full-year worker) (previously those who earned more than $23,660 were exempt from overtime pay);

2. Sets the total annual compensation requirement for highly compensated employees (HCE) subject to a minimal duties test to the annual equivalent of the 90th percentile of full-time salaried workers nationally ($134,004) (this is an increase from $100,000 per year); and

3. Establishes a mechanism for automatically updating the salary and compensation levels every three years to maintain the levels at the above percentiles and to ensure that they continue to provide useful and effective tests for exemption.

4. Additionally, the final rule amends the salary basis test to allow employers to use nondiscretionary bonuses and incentive payments (including commissions) to satisfy up to 10 percent of the new standard salary level.

The effective date of the final rule is December 1, 2016. The initial increases to the standard salary level (from $455 to $913 per week) and HCE total annual compensation requirement (from $100,000 to $134,004 per year) will be effective on that date. Future automatic updates to those thresholds will occur every three years, beginning on January 1, 2020.

Keep these new rules in mind as December 1st approaches. If you think you may be due overtime, you should contact an experienced employment attorney.

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