On July 26, the Dept. of Labor (DOL) published a Request for Information (RFI)(which can be found here), looking for input from the public on next steps after the Obama Administration’s effort to increase the minimum salary threshold for exempt employees was struck down in the courts. Although that case is still on appeal, the Trump Administration has not backed the Obama regulations and has only asked the courts to affirm that the DOL has the authority to increase the minimum salary threshold.
This new RFI opens up a number of new possible approaches to the appropriate salary level for an exempt employee, and signals that DOL is still committed to making changes. The current amount of $455 per week has not been updated since 2004. The Obama administration sought to increase this minimum amount to $913 per week, but the new Secretary of Labor, Alex Acosta, has said publicly that he thinks that amount was too high. This new RFI offers some insight into how DOL is now looking at this issue by asking for comments on the following approaches:
1. Different minimum salary thresholds depending on the size of the employer or the region of the country.
2. Different minimum salary thresholds based on the type of exemption – i.e. executive v. administrative.
3. Different thresholds for highly compensated employee exemption, based on geography, company size, etc.
4. Different methods for updating the above numbers based on either inflation or some other measure, and the appropriate time period to make these adjustments.
Responses to this RFI are due on September 25, 2017. It is widely expected that the agency will take some action to update the minimum salary threshold in late 2017 or early 2018.
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