The U.S. Department of Labor announced a final rule to make 1.3 million American workers eligible for overtime pay under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).



The final rule updates the earnings thresholds necessary to exempt executive, administrative, or professional employees from the FLSA’s minimum wage and overtime pay requirements, and allows employers to count a portion of certain bonuses (and commissions) towards meeting the salary level. The new thresholds account for growth in employee earnings since the currently enforced thresholds were set in 2004. In the final rule, the Department is:



  • raising the “standard salary level” from the currently enforced level of $455 to $684 per week (equivalent to $35,568 per year for a full-year worker);
  • raising the total annual compensation level for “highly compensated employees (HCE)” from the currently-enforced level of $100,000 to $107,432 per year;
  • allowing employers to use nondiscretionary bonuses and incentive payments (including commissions) that are paid at least annually to satisfy up to 10 percent of the standard salary level, in recognition of evolving pay practices; and
  • revising the special salary levels for workers in U.S. territories and in the motion picture industry.
The final rule will be effective on January 1, 2020.

Read the DOL Statement on the Final Ruling Here.







In a definitive ruling issued yesterday, the federal district court for the Eastern District of Texas granted an emergency request to put a hold on the December 1, 2016, effective date for the new federal overtime rule, until it can rule on two challenges to the rule itself. The court said today that the plaintiffs, in this case, 21 state attorneys general challenging the overtime rule, “demonstrated a substantial likelihood of success” on their case’s merits regarding the unlawfulness of the DOL’s final rule. The court’s action stops the rule nationwide. The NRA hailed the ruling.


The injunction will remain in effect until a decision is made in the case.


“The National Restaurant Association is cautiously optimistic with today’s decision by the Eastern District of Texas,” stated Cicely Simpson, Executive Vice President of Government Affairs and Policy at the National Restaurant Association.  “This was a critical step in what we hope will be a positive outcome in the case against the Department of Labor.”


While this is a positive step forward, today’s decision does not delay the overtime rule indefinitely. Additional legal actions or a final decision by the Court in favor of the Department of Labor could result in the overtime rule taking effect. Therefore, the Association once again reminds our members that it is important to continue to take the necessary steps to be ready to comply. Information and resources can be found at Restaurant.org/overtime.


In addition, the Association will be releasing an updated legal compliance handbook for our members next week that will explain many of the legal issues facing the restaurant industry today, including the impact of the overtime rule.


The National Restaurant Association is continuing to urge Congress to pass legislation that would modify or delay the rule’s December 1st implementation date. This rule is too much, too soon and it will have a far-reaching negative impact on the country’s second-largest private sector industry and the millions of workers who work in our nation’s more than one million restaurants.


Link to the full ruling here.


To learn more about the initially proposed rule visit NMRA’s Overtime FAQ’s page here.