Commentary | Overtime

57 law professors submit comment to DOL on overtime rule

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57 law professors, including some of the nation’s foremost experts on the Fair Labor Standards Act, submitted comments to the Department of Labor on its rulemaking concerning exemptions from the minimum wage and overtime pay requirement of the FLSA.  The law scholars made several important points: First, Congress granted the Secretary of Labor very broad authority to define which employees fit into the exemptions for executive, administrative and professional duties and the Secretary has wide latitude in choosing a minimum salary level for exemption.  The proposed level of $50,440 (the 40th percentile salary for full-time employees) is well within that authority.  Second, the Secretary’s explicit statutory authority to update the definitions from time to time includes a regulation that adjusts the salary test each year to keep it at the 40th percentile. Third, Congress intended the Secretary of Labor to set one standard for the nation, rather than multiple, regional standards, and the Department of Labor has, properly, never issued regional standards in 77 years.  Congress could have changed the statute if it disagreed with the Department of Labor’s interpretation and actions, but it has not.  And fourth, the FLSA does not apply to many non-profits and, to the extent that it does apply, will not be burdensome.

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