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DOL revises overtime pay requirements for employees.

The U.S. Department of Labor recently issued final regulations to federal overtime pay requirements under the Fair Labor Standards Act. The "FairPay Overtime Initiative," which becomes effective on Aug. 23, 2004, was published in the Apr. 23, 2004, issue of the Federal Register. During a 90-day comment period, the DOL received more than 75,000 comments from a wide variety of employees, employers, trade and professional organizations (including the AICPA), small business owners, labor unions, government entities, law firms and others.

In its new regulations, the DOL clarified and simplified the tests for determining whether an employee meets a whitecollar exemption; raised the minimum salary requirement for exempt employees, allows employers to deny overtime to "highly compensated" employees who make at least $100,000 per year and have minimal exempt duties or responsibilities; allows employers to suspend an exempt employee for misconduct in one-day increments; provides a new "safe harbor" making it easier for employers to fix improper deductions from an exempt employee's pay; and loosens the educational requirements for employees to be classified as exempt professionals.

The new regulations also cover a host of other overtime issues, including stronger overtime protections for blue-collar workers, police and fire officers, emergency medical technicians and paramedics, and licensed practical nurses. The final overtime regulations and an online seminar covering key topics on the new rules are available on the DOL's Web site at www.dol.gov/esa/regs/compliance/whd/fairpay/main.htm.

On May 4 the Senate voted to block the new DOL overtime pay regulations. At press time, no action had yet been taken by the House of Representatives. President Bush has announced he would veto any legislative action to derail the DOL rules.
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Title Annotation:regulatory matters; Department of Labor
Publication:CPA Letter
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jun 1, 2004
Words:285
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