The DOL announced the proposed rules in July 2015. If implemented as proposed, the rules would increase the number of employees eligible for overtime by nearly doubling the compensation level currently required as part of the tests for whether an employee is exempt from the act's overtime requirements. Specifically, the current exemption threshold of $455 per week, or $23,660 annually, would increase to approximately $970 per week, or $50,440 annually, under the proposed changes. The proposal also would increase the threshold for highly compensated employees to $122,148 annually, and include a mechanism to automatically update the salary threshold moving forward.
The updated overtime regulations are widely seen as a top priority for the exiting Obama administration. Overtime regulations have not been updated in over a decade, and the last update to the white collar exemption regulations was in 2004. During that effort DOL provided 90 days for comments, and the final rule went into effect 120 days after publication. The Obama administration announced the proposed overtime regulations last July with a 60-day comment period.
The proposed rule received nearly 300,000 comments, DOL is currently sifting through them, although sources indicate the number of "substantive" comments is likely significantly lower than that figure suggests. In early February, more than 100 members of the U.S. House of Representatives signed a letter addressed to Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez.
In the letter, they expressed concerns with the proposed rules and predicted that any drastic changes to the existing rules would be harmful. They also argued that the rules were too vague regarding any possible changes to the duties test portion of the white collar rules. Since the proposed rule was published, there has been a great deal of speculation and fear that the administration will change the duty rules in the final regulations in ways that weren't indicated in the proposed version.