Jeff Ruzal Quoted in “Proposed Overtime Rule Covers More Workers”


Jeffrey H. Ruzal, Member of the Firm in the Employment, Labor & Workforce Management practice, in the firm’s New York office, was quoted in SHRM, in “Proposed Overtime Rule Covers More Workers,” by Allen Smith.

Following is an excerpt:

The Department of Labor has proposed an increase in the salary-level threshold for white-collar exemptions to $35,308 per year from $23,660. If finalized, the proposal will result in the reclassification by employers of more than a million currently exempt workers as nonexempt and an increase in pay for others above the new threshold. The proposal does not call for automatic adjustments to the salary threshold.

Unless exempt, employees covered by the Fair Labor Standards Act must receive at least time and one-half their regular pay rate for all hours worked over 40 in a workweek.

Meeting the salary threshold doesn’t automatically make an employee exempt from overtime pay; the employee’s job duties also must primarily involve executive, administrative or professional duties as defined by the regulations. …

Jeffrey Ruzal, an attorney with Epstein Becker Green in New York City, recommended that employers audit their exempt workforces now to determine whether employees qualify for white-collar exemptions under the primary duties criteria of the different exemptions:

  • For the executive exemption, employees’ primary duties must be to manage the enterprise or a department or subdivision of the enterprise, and to customarily and regularly direct the work of at least two employees, and the employee must have the authority to hire or fire, or their suggestions and recommendations as to the hiring, firing or changing the status of other employees must be given particular weight.
  • For the administrative exemption, employees’ primary duty must be to perform office or nonmanual work directly related to the management or general business operations of the employer or the employer’s customers, and must include the exercise of discretion and independent judgment with respect to matters of significance.
  • For a professional exemption, employees’ primary duty must be work requiring knowledge of an advanced type in a field of science or learning customarily acquired by prolonged, specialized, intellectual instruction and study, or in one of a few other similarly highly specialized fields, such as teaching, computer analytics and engineering.

Employers do not have to wait for the final rule to review the duties. “It is possible that employees currently classified as exempt fail to meet the primary duties tests,” he said.