After several years of proposals, withdrawals, and litigation, the U.S. Department of Labor has implemented a final rule that raises the minimum salary threshold for employees from $23,660 per year to $35,568 per year to qualify as exempt from overtime pay under the Fair Labor Standards Act, effective Jan. 1, 2020. The new limit does not change the duties test or the method of calculating overtime or compensatory time. The new threshold of $35,568 per year is considerably below the $47,476 level proposed in 2016. However, counties must consider whether to increase salaries or re-classify employees who earn below the new threshold and otherwise qualify for exempt status.
How to Implement:
- Determine the number of previously exempt employees who are making less than $35,568 per year ($684 per week).
- Determine whether these employees work more than 40 hours per week or the optional work period for first responders.
- Determine whether to re-classify these employees as non-exempt or increase salaries to maintain the exemption.
Clearly, consultation with department heads and other elected officials is needed to evaluate the effect of any proposed changes on other employees and the county budget. Finally, contact the Texas Association of Counties human resources specialists or legal counsel for any detailed questions.