Overtime Policy Developments and Resources

The U.S. Department of Labor is taking a fresh look at rules to change overtime compensation requirements. Newly proposed regulations would increase the number of workers eligible for overtime compensation as early as January 2020, with a more moderate approach than previously proposed under the Obama Administration.

On August 31, 2017 a federal court formally struck down the Obama Administration’s 2016 attempt at new regulations. On November 22, 2016, a federal judge in Texas imposed a nationwide injunction halting implementation of the Obama Administration’s overtime regulations that were due to take effect on December 1, 2016, as reported in a League news update. The rule that had been set to go into effect would have raised the threshold for overtime compensation from $455 per week ($23,660 for a full-year worker) to $913 per week ($47,476 for a full-year worker).

Draft regulations posted on March 22, 2019 propose to rescind the 2016 regulations and replace them with new rules that adjust the threshold for overtime compensation to $679 per week ($35,308 for a full-year worker).  While the Department of Labor will take the coming months to consider comments on the proposed rule before issuing final regulations, the new threshold is currently expected to take effect in January 2020.

Soon after joining the Trump Administration, Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta said that the Department would start the process for revising the Obama Administration’s overtime rule. At his Senate confirmation hearing in March, Acosta said it was unfortunate that a threshold could go unchanged since 2004, but that doubling the limit as the Obama Administration attempted “does create what I’ll call a stress on the system.”

On September 25, 2017, the Department received many thousands of comments responding to an initial request for input on the topic. The League filed comments, along with other national nonprofit organizations, asking for a phased-in approach to changes, clear guidance for nonprofits, and additional opportunities to provide input when more specific regulatory changes are proposed.

The League is an active member of the National Council of Nonprofits and Independent Sector. Comments filed by each organization in May 2019 in response to the draft regulations re-affirm the need for a phased in implementation of the new requirements and the need for greater clarity about how the rules apply to nonprofit workers.

Is your orchestra currently in compliance with overtime rules under the Fair Labor Standards Act? In response to questions and concerns raised by the nonprofit community regarding the 2016 Obama Administration effort to increase the number of workers eligible to receive overtime compensation, the Department of Labor provided nonprofit-specific information. It is also important to understand your state’s overtime rules as whichever threshold is most generous to workers is what must be implemented by employers. We will keep adding resources to this page as the new regulations are finalized.

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