WASHINGTON - Under the Fair Labor Standards Act, new rules governing overtime rights for white-collar workers were published in the Federal Register on April 23. The regulations had not been substantially updated for over 50 years. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, this created confusion for workers and employers and failed to protect workers' pay rights.

"The department's new rules guarantee and strengthen overtime rights for more American workers than ever before," said U.S. Secretary of Labor Elaine L. Chao. "When workers know their rights and employers know how to pay workers, everybody wins."

The new rules expand the number of workers eligible for overtime by nearly tripling the salary threshold. Under the 50-year-old regulations, only workers earning less that $8,060 annually were guaranteed overtime. Under the new rules, workers earning $23,660 or less are guaranteed overtime. The Department of Labor reports that the change will strengthen overtime protection for 6.7 million low-wage salaried workers, including 1.3 million salaried white-collar workers who were not entitled to overtime pay under the existing regulations.

The new Fair Pay rule also adds new sections that clearly state that blue-collar workers, police officers, fire fighters, paramedics, and emergency medical technicians are entitled to overtime protection. The new rule will take effect on Aug. 23.

The complete text of the rule is available in the Federal Register under the Wage and Hour Division heading at www.access.gpo.gov./su_docs/fedreg/a040423c.html#wage%20and%20hour%20division.

Publication date: 05/10/2004