New FLSA Overtime Regulations

The long-anticipated changes to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)

regulations were released today. If you need help falling asleep tonight, you

can access all 508 pages of the final rule here.

The FLSA has always required that employees treated as exempt from

the overtime rules: (1) be paid on a minimum weekly amount, (2) on a

salary basis, and (3) perform exempt duties. The regulations (thankfully!)

did not make changes to the duties tests for executive, administrative and

professional employees. These are the primary classifications of exempt

employees used by schools. However, as promised, the weekly salary

minimum did increase. Here are the highlights:

 Weekly salary minimum raised from $455/week ($23,660/year) to

$913/week ($47,476/year). Note that the regulations specifically

exclude teachers, administrators, and some other certificate holders

from the minimum salary requirement. Many schools have asked if

this will require an increase to the district’s base salary for teaching

staff. The short answer for the vast majority of schools is “no.” For

the most part, the new rules will apply to non-teaching employees that

schools have treated as exempt in the past (e.g. head custodian,

transportation director, head secretary, etc.) In order to avoid the

recordkeeping and overtime requirements for exempt employees for

any particular workweek, the employee must receive at least $913 per

week in gross wages.

 The new regulations are effective December 1, 2016. This will

provide schools with some time prior to the new salary minimum going

into effect.

 The weekly salary minimum for exempt employees will be raised

every three years. This is different than the proposed regulations,

which considered raising the weekly salary minimum every year. This

outcome is better for schools which most often contract on a yearly

basis with classified staff members who may be exempt. The

increases will become effective on the first day of the applicable year,

with the first automatic update taking effect on January 1, 2020. The

Department must publish the updated rates at least 150 days before

they go into effect. This means you’ll be considering your options

again prior to finalizing 2019-2020 contracts.

The Department of Labor (DOL) also issued a guidance document for

“State and Local Governments” which describes the regulatory changes and

the methods available to those entities for complying with the new rule. You

can access that document here, but in sum, it lays out generally the options

we’ve been discussing with KSB clients for several months now. Here is the

DOL’s list of options for schools and other local governments to comply with

the new rules:

 Raise salaries: to the new minimum threshold;

 Pay overtime above a salary: this is the fluctuating

workweek/variable wage rate method we’ve discussed at presentations

and with many clients;

 Evaluate and realign employee workload; and

 Utilize compensatory time off (aka, “comp time”).

Generally, boards and administrators fall into two camps. Some have

elected to set up employment agreements for the entire 2016-17 school

year in light of these new rules, either increasing salaries or converting

employees to hourly earners entitled to overtime beginning right away.

Others will wait to make changes until the December 1, 2016 deadline is

closer and may make contract revisions effective for that date. In either

case, we recommend that administrators and boards begin or continue

discussions regarding these new rules. Some of the strategies for

compliance may require changes to employment agreements, policies, and

handbooks, so keep those things in mind as you work on implementing

these new rules for your district.

If you have questions or concerns about your board’s options, we

recommend that you consult with your school district’s attorney or call

Karen, Steve, or Bobby.