NACo has submitted comments to the Department of Labor (DOL) responding to a Request for Information (RFI) regarding regulations governing the “white collar” exemption from overtime pay for executive, administrative and professional employees under the Fair Labor Standards Act.
In May 2016, DOL — under the Obama Administration— released a final rule that would have changed the salary threshold for employees who are eligible for overtime pay from $23,660 to $47,476. This salary threshold would also would have been updated automatically every three years. However, 21 states and dozens of businesses sued DOL to halt implementation of rules they said would substantially increase employment costs. In November 2016, a federal judge issued a temporary injunction to block implementation of the rules that were scheduled to become effective Dec. 1, 2016.
The Trump Administration decided not to defend the overtime pay rule and instead released the RFI on July 26 to solicit feedback on the Obama-era regulations, which it plans to take into consideration as the administration develops a new proposal. In the meantime, federal judge Amos L. Mazzant, the same judge that issued the initial injunction, invalidated the Labor Department’s 2016 final overtime pay rule in August.
NACo’s comments expressed concerns regarding DOL’s 2016 rule and the administrative and financial burden it would impose on county governments. The comments also specified that the rule did not adequately address variations in local labor markets, especially for rural counties. In addition, they reflect concerns regarding automatic adjustments or increases in the overtime pay threshold, due to the uncertainty and potential negative impact on county budgets.