Topic: Employment Law and Employee Benefits
October 2017
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October 30, 2017 Update: On November 22, 2016, a federal district court in Texas issued a preliminary injunction blocking the implementation of nearly all of the 2016 revisions that the United States Department of Labor (DOL) made to its regulations governing the overtime exemptions for executive, administrative, and professional employees and which are discussed in this article.  See State of Nevada v. United States Department of Labor to read the November 2016 decision.  On August 31, 2017, the district court issued summary judgment in favor of the plaintiffs and declared the DOL’s 2016 revisions invalid and unenforceable.  See State of Nevada v. United States Department of Labor to read the August 2017 decision.  On September 6, 2017, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit dismissed the DOL’s appeal from the preliminary injunction. 

In view of these developments, an employer currently is not obligated to pay white collar employees a weekly salary of more than $455 in order for the employees to retain their exempt status under federal law and New Jersey law.

However, an employer still must comply with state laws that establish a minimum weekly salary that is higher than $455 in order for white collar employees to be deemed exempt from overtime requirements in those states.  For example, in Connecticut, the minimum weekly salary for white collar employees to be deemed exempt from overtime requirements is $475 and in New York it is $825 for New York City employers with 11 or more employees, $787.50 for New York City employees with 10 or fewer employees, $750 for employers in Westchester, Nassau, and Suffolk Counties, and $727.50 for those employers outside of New York City and Westchester, Nassau, and Suffolk Counties.

Note that the DOL has started new rulemaking, which still might result in an increase in the federal and New Jersey minimum weekly salary for white collar workers.  If and when those regulations are issued, Pro Bono Partnership will post a revised version of this two-part article.

On October 30, 2017, the DOL appealed the district court’s summary judgment order to the Fifth Circuit.  The DOL will be asking the Fifth Circuit to hold the appeal in abeyance while the DOL’s rulemaking is pending.

Pro Bono Partnership and the Jackson Lewis law firm, in conjunction with the Center for Non-Profits, the CT Community Nonprofit Alliance, Lawyers Alliance for New York, and the Nonprofit Coordinating Committee of New York, have prepared a two-part article discussing the revised regulations and what they mean for nonprofits.

Part I of the article, written by Michael A. Frankel, Esq. and Joseph J. DiPalma, Esq., from Jackson Lewis P.C., explains in detail the major changes made by the DOL and how those changes will impact the nonprofit community. The article also discusses the obligation of nonprofits to simultaneously comply with both the federal FLSA and applicable state wage and hour laws, and they provide a brief reminder to nonprofits about some of the limits on the use of volunteers. Part I is accessible below.

In Part II, Christine Michelle Duffy, Esq. from Pro Bono Partnership provides employers an overview of some considerations and strategies for addressing the changes discussed below. Part II will (1) help nonprofits navigate decisions relating to whether to reclassify exempt employees as nonexempt, (2) alert nonprofits to some hidden landmines, and (3) provide nonprofits tips for complying with the revised regulations.

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