What Employers Need to Know About the DOL’s Updated Overtime Regulations

What Employers Need to Know About the DOL’s Updated Overtime Regulations

April 24, 2024

The landscape of employee compensation is set for a significant change. The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has issued a final rule that revises regulations under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). These revisions pivot around an important update that boosts the standard salary threshold for exempt employees. Barring any legal challenges, effective July 1, 2024, the standard salary level will rise to $43,888 per year. Furthermore, an additional increase will take place on January 1, 2025, with the salary level reaching $58,656 annually. The highly compensated employee threshold will also shift, rising to $132,964 on July 1 and $151,164 in January. These adjustments represent a pivotal shift from prior standards, which, despite the DOL’s past promise of regular increases, have not seen significant changes in many years.

Understanding the New Overtime Rule

Under the FLSA, employees who meet certain criteria are exempt from overtime pay — that is, they are not required to receive time-and-a-half pay when they work over 40 hours a week. Traditionally, these criteria have hinged on the type of work the employee does, their level of responsibility, and their compensation level.

The sharp increase in the salary threshold reflects the DOL’s commitment to ensuring salaried workers deemed ‘exempt’ from overtime pay are fairly compensated for their contributions at a level that keeps pace with the modern economy.

The Updating Mechanism

Another important aspect of the revised rule is the re-introduction of an updating mechanism, a feature designed to prevent future salary threshold levels from becoming outdated. Starting July 1, 2024, the salary thresholds will be subjected to adjustments every three years. This ensures that the standards evolve in tandem with wage growth and economic changes, providing a consistent safeguard for compensation fairness.

Implications for Employers

As an employer, the paramount question is: How will these changes affect your business operations and workforce management? The DOL estimates that the July 1 increase will impact one million American workers while the additional increase in January 2025 will impact three million or more.

This means that these adjustments will cause many employees currently classified as exempt to no longer meet the requisite salary criteria and consequently may make them entitled to overtime pay.

However, responding to these changes by simply converting employees to non-exempt status to avoid salary increases might seem like a straightforward solution, but it is fraught with challenges:

  1. Compliance with Overtime Rules: Non-exempt employees are eligible for overtime pay. If previously exempt employees often worked more than 40 hours per week, your payroll costs might increase significantly more than the required increase to remain exempt.
  2. Morale and Perception: Altering an employee’s exempt status can affect job satisfaction and perceived professional status, which in turn, can impact productivity and company culture.
  3. Operational Efficiency: Reorganizing workloads to manage overtime can be complex, potentially affecting service delivery and operational efficiency.
  4. Administrative Burden: With non-exempt status comes the need for meticulous tracking of hours worked, adding administrative overhead.

While the final rule is scheduled for implementation, it’s notable that the rule can still be challenged. Lawsuits or legislative actions may arise that could alter, delay, or nullify the new regulations. Employers should stay informed about developments related to these regulations to anticipate any shifts in the legal landscape.


This updated final rule represents a transformative development for many businesses. Proactive planning is critical. Assess the potential impact on your payroll, consult with the REDW Human Resources Consulting team, and consider all facets of operational management before determining the most strategic course of action.

Remember, too, that this is not merely about fulfilling legal obligations — it’s about valuing and retaining your workforce through fair compensation. It’s a fine balance, but one that can maintain compliance while fostering a positive work environment.

Be sure to monitor communications from the Department of Labor for any updates or clarifications regarding this rule. Equip yourself with the knowledge and strategies to adapt effectively, preserving the integrity and productivity of your business.

For guidance tailored to your specific circumstances, please contact us to chart the most appropriate path forward for your business.

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