DOL Regulations on the Horizon, Employee Exemption Changes Expected in November

On May 23, 2014, the U.S. Department of Labor issued its semiannual regulatory agenda announcing approximate dates when it plans to issue these regulations affecting employers:

FMLA’s Definition of “Spouse” – Following the U.S. Supreme Court’s June 2013 Windsor decision, the DOL must revise existing Family and Medical Leave Act regulations defining spouse to include legally married same-sex partners. The DOL’s agenda indicated the end of May as the target date for these proposed regulations.  MSEC is watching for their imminent release.

Minimum Wage for Contractors – This month the DOL plans to issue regulations to implement President Obama’s executive order of February 12, 2014, increasing the minimum wage to $10.10 per hour for workers under new and renegotiated federal contracts.

Employee Exemption Changes – The DOL plans to issue proposed regulations changing the tests for exempt status of employees in November. These regulations will reduce the number of employees who will qualify for exempt status, making more workers eligible for overtime pay. Also, expect an increase in the salary level currently required for exempt employees of $455 per week or $23,660 per year.

MSEC will analyze the proposed regulations when issued and make you aware of their content. You will have an opportunity to submit comments to the DOL on each proposed regulation. The DOL factors these comments in when drafting its final rule, which covered employers must follow.

Persuader Rule – After two delays, the DOL plans to issue final regulations on the persuader rule in December. This rule expands reporting requirements under the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act when an employer hires a consultant to assist in thwarting employee unionization attempts if the consultant engages in activities that go beyond giving advice. The DOL received 9,000 comments on this rule, which it proposed in 2011. MSEC will analyze these regulations when issued and provide guidance to our affected members on how to comply.