NAICU Washington Update

NAICU Joins Higher Ed Community in Submitting Comments on Proposed Overtime Rule

May 28, 2019

NAICU and 16 other higher education associations submitted comments to the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) seeking changes to the proposed overtime rule that would help colleges and universities more easily implement any future adjustments.  The comments, drafted by the College and University Professional Association for Human Resources (CUPA-HR), are in response to the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) on the overtime salary threshold announced in March.

While the comments generally support the salary adjustment from the current level of $23,660 to $35,308, changes that the higher education groups would like to see the Labor Department consider include:
  • Allowing employers to prorate the salary threshold for part-time employees.
  • Counting the cost of employer-provided room and board toward the salary threshold.
  • Updating the regulations every five to seven years based on circumstance, as it did prior to the 1970s, not through a regularly scheduled update. DOL should act based on circumstance, not on a rigid schedule. An automatic update—even one that involves notice and comment—may exceed DOL’s authority under the Fair Labor Standards Act and, therefore, will be susceptible to legal challenge.
  • Making clear that if the DOL decides to proceed with an automatic update, any change to the methodology used to determine the standard salary level as part of future updates would require multiple proposed rulemakings.
This NPRM comes after an extensive period of public comment for suggested adjustments to the current rule, including written comments and public hearings.  This is the first proposed adjustment to the overtime rule since the Obama Administration almost finalized a rule that would have more than doubled the current level, causing great concern throughout the small business, nonprofit, and higher education communities.
DOL will now review the many comments it received before releasing a final rule.  This process typically takes about three months, but could be shorter or longer based on the amount of comments submitted and amount of changes the Administration is willing to make to the proposed rule.  After the final rule is announced, there will be an additional period of time prior to implementation.