Steps to Take in NY While the Dec. 1st FLSA Deadline is Delayed in Business and at Work
With less than 2 weeks left until the deadline for the upcoming changes to the Federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) on December 1, 2016 (most significantly, raising the minimum salary for exempt employees to $47,476 or $913 a week), Federal Judge Amos L. Mazzant III of the Eastern District of Texas ruled late on Tuesday, November 22nd that the Obama administration had exceeded its authority by raising the overtime salary limit so significantly, and issued a nationwide injunction on the December 1st FLSA changes.
It’s not known how long it will take for the injunction against the December 1st FLSA changes to be resolved, particularly since the injunction was issued as most American workers (including but not limited to U.S. DOL employees) were in the process of taking time off for last week’s Thanksgiving long holiday weekend. Many organizations have already made changes in preparation for the December 1st changes – from an employee relations and compliance standpoint, it probably makes the most sense to not reverse any changes already made to meet the December 1st FLSA deadline requirements, as some version of the December 1st FLSA changes may well be enacted once the legal wrangling is over. Or, as the national office for one of my church clients observed: Have you ever cleaned your house for company, but the company cancels at the last-minute? Then you have a clean house! In that spirit, we appreciate the house-cleaning you’ve been doing on the pay practices front. For procrastinators, the advice is not make any changes yet – however, to take the steps to prepare for FLSA changes now.
In New York state, the procrastinators will only get a short reprieve, as the injunction affects only the December 1, 2016 FLSA changes. However, the NYS Department of Labor continues to move forward with its own regulatory changes (starting on page 142-27 of the proposed regulations at the previous link) to raise the minimum salary for exempt employees in NY from $675 a week to anywhere from $727 a week (upstate New York including the Albany, NY / Tech Valley Region) to $825 a week (New York City) effective December 31, 2016 – more detailed (and summarized) information on the proposed changes for different NYS geographic regions and business sizes can be found here. The comment period for this regulatory change ends on December 3, 2016, and it’s expected that the regulations will take effect on December 31, 2016.
For that reason, NYS employers are advised to take the following steps now:
Are your job descriptions updated and ready for the NYS DOL December 31st deadline in business and at work?