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New FairPay Rules Will Guarantee Overtime to Low-Wage Earners

By Jodie Carter

For over 50 years, under the Fair Labor Standards Act, workers that put in more than 40 hours a week generally to receive time-and-a-half pay, except when they are salaried workers in certain executive, administrative or professional positions.

But new FairPay overtime rules will take effect in about four months and are the first broad revision of overtime regulations in 50 years. The revisions are meant to protect workers while modernizing and simplifying the complex existing regulations, according to Secretary of Labor, Elaine Chao.

The new rules modify the tests determining who qualifies for overtime pay, with the criteria including the amount of managerial responsibility and professional training.

How will the new overtime law affect landscape contractors and superintendents?

Under the existing law, entry-level landscape supervisors with salaries around $20,000 do not qualify for overtime pay--even when they work 50-hour weeks. But under the new FairPay rules, those same supervisors would be paid overtime for any hours over the forty-hour limit. This is because the pay level under which workers are automatically eligible for overtime pay will rise from $8,060 to cover anyone making under $23,660. The administration has repeatedly stated that the new threshold will guarantee overtime eligibility to 1.3 million workers who were denied overtime under the old rules.

Above the $23,600 level, it's still unclear which workers earning between $23,660 and $100,000 will still qualify for overtime pay.

White-collar earners over than the $100,00 level will be exempt from overtime pay if they regularly perform a portion of the duties of an executive, administrative or professional employee. But white-collar workers earning more than $100,000 will still receive overtime pay if covered by a union contract that provides for it. The new $100,000 level is a significant increase from the $65,000 threshold the administration proposed a year ago in its original overtime revision.

The 50-year-old regulations were revised in part in an attempt to simplify the complex laws that encouraged myriad lawsuits because the rules governing who is eligible and who is exempt were complex and hard for anyone without legal council to definitively understand.

For details on the new rules as they apply to different occupations, including a video seminar explaining the rules, log onto the Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division at

Source: The New York Times

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August 20, 2019, 10:08 am PDT

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