Last month, President Obama directed the Secretary of Labor to propose changes to the current overtime regulations. The President's primary goal appears to be to increase the number of workers eligible for overtime pay.
Specifically, the proposed changes are expected to focus on workers who fall within the so-called "white collar" exemptions from overtime. Currently, to qualify under one of these exemptions, an employee must receive a salary of at least $455 per week and meet certain other specifically defined criteria.
The Secretary of Labor is being charged with re-evaluating the sufficiency of this salary threshold, which the White House believes has been eroded by inflation, with a view to possibly raising it to between $550 and $970 per week. A re-evaluation of the various categories of exempt employees to make the criteria for exemption more defined and narrow may also occur so that fewer employees may pass as "exempt."
President Obama has pledged to make 2014 a year of action, and it appears that wage and hour issues are at the top of his list. This overtime initiative comes just one month after the issuance of an Executive Order, increasing the minimum wage to $10.10 for federal contractors and subcontractors, effective January 1, 2015.