Senate Bill Seeks to Change FLSA Overtime Compensation Standards

Employment attorneys in New York and beyond are paying keen attention to the “Restoring Overtime Pay for Working Americans Act” currently under consideration in Congress.

Senator Tom Harkin of Iowa, along with eight co-sponsors, introduced this bill in mid-June. It addresses what the senators believe is an unnecessarily low threshold for the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) “white collar exemption,” or the weekly income level at which employees become exempt from overtime requirements.

Currently, the minimum salary level to become exempt from overtime is $455 per week; the bill would increase this to $1,090 per week. Additional proposals include adjusting the “highly-compensated employee” designation from $100,000 per year to $125,000 per year and limiting the amount of work an exempt employee can spend every week on non-exempt job duties.

Currently, the Department of Labor is taking such matters under consideration, with a proposal expected by November. Because the policies the bill sets forth fall under the jurisdiction of the Secretary of Labor, some individuals question its appropriateness and timing. One reason could be that Harkin and his fellow legislators wish to establish their recommendations regarding salary and other aspects of the Secretary’s future proposal.

Regardless of their true intentions, the Restoring Overtime Pay for Working Americans Act represents a demonstrated need among white collar workers for protection under the FLSA. Although these individuals may earn higher incomes than others, they may still experience unfair pay practices and exploitation at the hands of their employers. When lawmakers advocate for working people at diverse income levels, all American workers benefit.
Under state and national employment laws, employees have the right to work for fair wages and receive overtime when applicable. Should you suspect your employer of illegal practices under the FLSA, an experienced New York employment attorney at Joseph & Kirschenbaum can help. Contact us today at (212) 688-5640 or to discuss your potential case.

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