Overtime pay threshold to be increased

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Effective Dec. 1, the U.S. overtime pay threshold for white collar, salaried employees will increase from $23,660 per year to $47,476 per year, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

The new threshold will affect about 4.2 million employees in the country, including 370,000 employees in Texas. The DOL estimates that white collar workers will earn an additional $1.2 billion per year as a result of the rule.

After the initial threshold increase, the salary threshold will increase every three years, beginning Jan. 1, 2020.

The salary threshold is being raised based on the 40th percentile of weekly earnings for full-time salaried workers in the lowest-wage Census region, currently the South, according to the DOL. Each update will also increase the threshold to the 40th percentile, which is estimated to be $51,168 in 2020.

The Highly Compensated Employees salary level is also being increased to the 90th percentile of full-time salaried workers nationally, which raises the level from the current $100,000 per year to $134,004 per year.

The new overtime pay threshold is slightly less than what the DOL originally estimated for 2016, which was $50,440 per year. The DOL also originally proposed updating the threshold every year.

Under the original estimated threshold increase, the Frisco Chamber of Commerce estimated that more than 70 percent of its businesses would be affected by the rule, according to an informal survey conducted by the chamber. Most of those businesses have one to five employees.

There is currently no exemption for small businesses and nonprofits.

“Your smaller businesses are going to take the brunt of this impact, and they’re going to have to cut employees or cut their hours,” said Shona Huffman, Frisco Chamber of Commerce director of Governmental Affairs.

In a May 17 email from U.S. President Barack Obama, he said employees should either get paid for working more than 40 hours a week or get extra time off to spend with family.

“This is a step in the right direction to strengthen and secure the middle class by raising Americans’ wages,” Obama said in the email. “When workers have more income, they spend it—often at businesses in their local community—and that helps grow the economy for everyone.”

The DOL updated the overtime pay rule after Obama signed a presidential memorandum in 2014 directing the DOL to update its regulations that define which white collar workers are protected under the Fair Labor Standards Act’s overtime rules. The FLSA, which was passed in 1938, establishes overtime and minimum wage standards.

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Lindsey Juarez
Lindsey has been involved in newspapers in some form since high school. She graduated magna cum laude from the University of Texas at Arlington in 2014 with a degree in Journalism. While attending UTA, she worked for The Shorthorn, the university's award-winning student newspaper. She was hired as Community Impact Newspaper's first Frisco reporter in 2014. Less than a year later, she took over as the editor of the Frisco edition. Since then, she has covered a variety of topics and issues important to the community, including the city's affordable housing shortage, the state's controversial A-F school accountability system and the city's "Bury the Lines" efforts.
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