White-Collar Rule Under Siege

Last week, Republicans in Congress introduced a bill to derail the U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) final rule on white-collar exempt employees, or drastically lower its minimum annual salary from the $50,440 currently proposed.

The Protecting Workplace Advancement and Opportunity Act would require the DOL to analyze the rule’s potential economic impact on employers, with an emphasis on “small businesses, nonprofit employers, Medicare- or Medicaid-dependent health care providers, and small government jurisdictions.”

The bill is part of a concerted effort by Republicans to stop the rule from taking effect, at least in its current form. The strategy could also include a challenge under the Congressional Review Act.

Last week, the DOL sent its draft of the final rule to the White House’s Office of Management Budget, setting into motion a review period that has no minimum but could last up to 90 days. Some commentators called the timing a DOL effort to reduce the likelihood of Republican challenge under the Congressional Review Act. Such a challenge could delay the rule long enough to permit interference from an incoming Republican president. A Congressional Research Service report issued last month stated that final rules submitted after May 16, 2016 are potentially more vulnerable to challenge.

MSEC will continue to follow this story closely.