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What the New Overtime Rule Means for Workers

By Jessica Looman, U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division

One of the basic principles of the American workplace is that a hard day’s work deserves a fair day’s pay. Simply put, every worker’s time has value. A cornerstone of that promise is the Fair Labor Standards Act’s (FLSA) requirement that when most workers work more than 40 hours in a week, they get paid more. The Department of Labor’s new overtime regulation is restoring and extending this promise for millions more lower-paid salaried workers in the U.S. Overtime protections have been a critical part of the FLSA since 1938 and were established to protect workers from exploitation and to benefit workers, their families and our communities.

Some workers are specifically exempt from the FLSA’s minimum wage and overtime protections, including bona fide executive, administrative or professional employees. This exemption, typically referred to as the “EAP” exemption, applies when: An employee is paid a salary; that salary is not less than a minimum salary threshold amount, and the employee primarily performs executive, administrative or professional duties.

While the department increased the minimum salary required for the EAP exemption from overtime pay every five to nine years between 1938 and 1975, long periods between increases to the salary requirement after 1975 have caused an erosion of the real value of the salary threshold, lessening its effectiveness in helping to identify exempt EAP employees.

The department’s new overtime rule was developed based on almost 30 listening sessions across the country and the final rule was issued after reviewing over 33,000 written comments. The department’s final rule, which went into effect on July 1, 2024, increasing the standard salary level that helps define and delimit which salaried workers are entitled to overtime pay protections under the FLSA. 

Starting July 1, most salaried workers who earn less than $844 per week will become eligible for overtime pay under the final rule. And on Jan. 1, 2025, most salaried workers who make less than $1,128 per week will become eligible for overtime pay. As these changes occur, job duties will continue to determine overtime exemption status for most salaried employees.

The rule will also increase the total annual compensation requirement for highly compensated employees (who are not entitled to overtime pay under the FLSA if certain requirements are met) from $107,432 per year to $132,964 per year on July 1, 2024, and then set it equal to $151,164 per year on Jan. 1, 2025.

Starting July 1, 2027, these earnings thresholds will be updated every three years so they keep pace with changes in worker salaries, ensuring that employers can adapt more easily because they’ll know when salary updates will happen and how they’ll be calculated.

The final rule will restore and extend the right to overtime pay to many salaried workers, including workers who historically were entitled to overtime pay under the FLSA because of their lower pay or the type of work they performed. 

Workers and employers are urged to visit the Wage and Hour Division of the U.S. Department of Labor’s website to learn more about the final rule.

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