Overtime Rule Issued
Sep 25, 2019


The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) announced its final rule to make 1.3 million more Americans eligible for overtime pay under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) by raising the earnings threshold to qualify for overtime. The regulations they replace have been in effect since 2004.  The final rule will be effective on Jan. 1, 2020.



The final rule updates the earnings thresholds necessary to exempt executive, administrative, and professional employees from the FLSA’s minimum wage and overtime pay requirements.  The new rule raises the standard salary level from about $23,660 per year to $35,568.  It also raises the total annual compensation level for highly compensated employees (HCE) from $100,000 to $107,432 per year.



Under the Obama Administration, a previous proposal would have doubled the salary threshold to benefit an estimated 4 million more workers.  However in 2017, a federal judge struck down the overtime rule stating the DOL exceeded its authority by raising the salary threshold too high after a coalition of states and business groups challenged the rule.  After this ruling, the DOL decided to rescind the 2016 rule and created a new overtime rule.



Several states including California and New York have salary thresholds for determining overtime eligibility that are higher than the federal standard.  Eighteen states began 2019 with higher minimum wages.  In July, the House passed legislation to raise the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2025, which is supported by two-thirds of Americans.  This means the cost of workers’ compensation is increasing as well.  We’ll keep reporting on these changes as they move.


Keeping It On the Rails


The Federal Railroad Administration provided an update on railroads’ progress in fully implementing positive train control (PTC) systems and announced that PTC systems were in operation on 87% of the route miles required to be equipped by Congress.  PTC is an advanced system designed to automatically stop a train before certain accidents such as train-to-train collisions and derailment caused by excessive train speed.  Congress and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) have called for renewed efforts to fully implement PTC.  The extended deadline for implementing PTC systems is Dec. 31, 2020. 



In the U.S., a person or vehicle is struck every four hours and most of these incidents occur at a grade crossing, where the tracks meet the road.  The number of drivers going around lowered gates has spiked in recent years and hit an all-time high in 2018 when 99 people were killed after going around a lowered gate.  This week is National Rail Safety Week and promotes Operation Lifesaver – a goal to get to zero incidents, zero injuries, and zero fatalities. 


Making Our Way Around the Country


In a landmark decision, the UK Supreme Court unanimously ruled earlier this week that Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s decision to suspend Parliament for five weeks was unlawful.  After the ruling, the leaders from the House of Commons and the House of Lords said they will convene today.  Currently, PM Johnson is in New York at the UN Summit.  The deadline for the UK’s departure from the European Union is Oct. 31.



A friendly reminder that Nevada’s new privacy compliance deadline is next week on Oct. 1.  The new privacy law requires companies to honor a consumer’s do-not-sell request.  Much narrower than the California Consumer Privacy Act, the law allows consumers only the right to opt-out of the sale of their personal information to data broker-type entities.  All operators (people or entities that own or operate a website or online service for commercial purposes and collect and maintain covered information from consumers who reside in Nevada) must provide an online mechanism or toll-free phone number to collect consumers’ opt-out requests.  Countdown – 6 days.



The U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Workers’ Compensation Program announced the implementation of new opioid controls to protect injured federal workers.  The new controls aim to reduce the risk of long-term opioid use.  The new controls impose a 7-day limit on the initial opioid prescription. This follows the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines and is consistent with restrictions now in place in states across the country.  The new policy also allows filling three subsequent 7-day opioid prescriptions for a max of 28 days, and then requires approval for any prescription beyond this period.



Tropical Depression Imelda brought deadly flooding along the Texas Gulf coast.  Imelda, the worst storm in Texas since Hurricane Harvey and one of the wettest tropical cyclones in the nation’s history, dumped over 40 inches of rain.  Gov. Greg Abbott declared a state of emergency but the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has not yet declared it a federal disaster.  This is necessary for federal aid for individuals, businesses, and municipalities.  We’re thinking about all those affected by Imelda and thankful for the first responders and everyone who helped others.


Share This
* Required Fields