The New DOL Regulations and Why the Public Sector is Special

Public Sector.BlogBy now, we all know that under new U.S. Department of Labor regulations effective December 1, 2016, the minimum salary for an exempt employee will increase to $913 a week, more than double the current $455 a week.

If you are a political subdivision of a state (like a city or county, and in many cases a special district, like a public school) special regulations apply to you. It is important that you be aware of them.

Here is a list of the major differences. Don’t implement them without understanding them, and realize that there may be others that apply to you:

  1. Employees may volunteer to swap shifts with their coworkers and yet count hours for the week based upon the original shift.
  2. Employees may volunteer to do work outside their department on an occasional or sporadic basis and be paid straight time.
  3. Firefighters and law enforcement officers can be paid on work periods of up to 28 days, rather than counting overtime for each workweek.
  4. Employees can be paid in compensatory time—time-and-a-half off—instead of time-and-a-half pay.
  5. Employees reporting directly to elected officials may be exempt.
  6. Teachers and administrators in public schools do not have to meet the salary basis minimum.

This is only a brief summary, and is not a complete explanation of the exceptions. There may be others that apply to your organization. Make sure you understand how and when your organization can take advantage of these special rules as you move forward under the new salary requirements.