The U.S. Department of Labor has recently proposed a significant update to the regulations under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). These revisions aim to modernize and adapt the rules governing exemptions from minimum wage and overtime pay requirements. These potential updates represent a critical development in labor law and could have profound implications for both senior living and disability care operators and their employees across the nation. 

Proposed Changes: 

The proposed changes include several key updates to the existing regulations. Some of the most significant revisions include: 

Increased Standard Salary Level:

The Department of Labor suggests raising the standard salary level to the 35th percentile of weekly earnings for full-time salaried workers in the lowest-wage Census Region, currently the South. This would set the standard at $1,059 per week, equivalent to $55,068 annually for a full-year worker. This adjustment seeks to ensure that employees who are exempt from minimum wage and overtime pay truly fall into the categories of executive, administrative, professional, outside sales, or computer employees. 

Highly Compensated Employee Threshold:

The proposed update also suggests increasing the highly compensated employee’s total annual compensation threshold. It would be set at the annualized weekly earnings of the 85th percentile of full-time salaried workers nationally, amounting to $143,988. This adjustment aims to identify highly compensated employees more accurately and ensure they remain exempt from FLSA’s minimum wage and overtime requirements. 

Automatic Updating Mechanism:

In addition to the specific changes mentioned above, the Department is proposing the addition of an automatic updating mechanism to the regulations. This mechanism would allow for the timely and efficient adjustment of all earnings thresholds, ensuring that they remain aligned with current economic conditions. 

The proposed changes are similar to those proposed by the Department of Labor in 2016, which were ultimately withdrawn after the administration change as a result of the 2016 election. 

Implications for Senior Living and Disability Care Operators: 

For Operators: If these updates are implemented, senior living and disability care operators will need to examine their current staff salaries to ensure exempt employees still meet the minimum salary thresholds. This will most likely impact lower-level or front-line supervisors, who may currently make less than $1,059/week. Operators will need to consider whether to raise such staff members’ salaries to maintain the exemption or to begin paying those employees overtime.  

For Employees:

On the employee front, particularly for those in the affected categories, the proposed changes could mean increased income protection. Some employees may become eligible for minimum wage and overtime pay or receive salary increases, potentially enhancing their financial security and work-life balance. 

These proposed changes could reshape the landscape of minimum wage and overtime pay exemptions for senior living and disability care operators and their employees. Staying informed is paramount, as is taking proactive steps to navigate these potential changes effectively. 

If you find it challenging to keep up with evolving employer regulations, consider seeking expert guidance. HR solutions tailored to the unique needs of senior living and disability care operators are available, and Procare HR can help you navigate these changes with confidence. 

The future of labor standards in our sector may be evolving, but with the right knowledge and support, you can adapt and thrive.

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