the White House has proposed new overtime rules that could increase your paycheck

Big news: the White House has approved a proposal from the Department of Labor to change the rules that govern who must receive overtime pay.

If it becomes law, your employer would be required to pay you overtime (time and a half for all hours over 40 that you work in a week) unless you earn at least $55,068 annually – a big increase (54%!) from the current threshold of $35,568. That means employers would have to either track and limit the number of hours a large pool of people can work or start paying them overtime … or raise their salaries to the new threshold.

In addition, the proposal includes automatic updates to this salary threshold every three years based on wage data.

However, the change is not a sure thing. It needs to be placed in the Federal Register for public comment (and until it’s published there later this month, we won’t know if $55,068 will be the final number; they might tweak it based on more current wage data, which presumably could send it slightly higher).  There will also be court challenges (as there have been in the past whenever there’s a proposal to raise the exemption threshold). In fact, in 2016, the federal government announced it was raising the minimum salary for overtime exemption, and a judge blocked it the day before it was scheduled to take effect … and it stayed on hold until 2020, when it finally went into effect but at a lower salary level. So at this point there’s no knowing whether it will happen or how the presidential election later this year could affect things. But if it does survive, it’s expected to take effect at the beginning of next year.

{ 121 comments… read them below }

  1. fhqwhgads*

    This In addition, the proposal includes automatic updates to this salary threshold every three years based on wage data.
    is a very very important part of this proposal that better not get stripped out or I’ll be even more irked than what happened last time.

    1. A Genuine Scientician*

      The automatic indexing is the part I care the most about, even above the salary threshold.

      (I’m not going to be affected either way, but there were times earlier in my career I would have been, and also would have been if the older salary numbers had been indexed to either wage or inflation data).

      1. fhqwhgads*

        Yup. How it got so out of sync in the first place was not being tied to inflation. If we can’t get the floor where it oughta be, bare minimum we gotta stop the gap from getting even worse.

  2. I'm just here for the cats!*

    This is if you are salaried right? because if you are hourly non-exempt already this doesn’t affect you.

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      If you are already non-exempt, this wouldn’t change anything for you.

      For people who are currently exempt, it would make a lot of them non-exempt.

      1. Rachel*

        I am currently Exempt and fall just under the salary threshold. I was hired and spent years as non-Exempt during the limbo of the situation you described above from 2016-2020 and finally got them to make me Exempt. I don’t want to go back to being non-Exempt. I’d love some advice on how to negotiate with my employer to bump me up over the threshold so I can stay where I am; I feel like their preference is going to be to take the opportunity to make me non-Exempt again, if the law goes through.

        1. Ask a Manager* Post author

          Do you ever work more than 40 hours a week? Do they want you continue doing that? If so, calculate what they’d owe you in overtime pay; if it’s close to or more than the bump you’d need to your salary, that’s a really good argument for it.

        2. Lab Boss*

          I don’t have any advice, just curiosity- why would your employer prefer to make you non-Exempt? It seems like, all else being equal, an Exempt employee is easier and likely cheaper. They can’t get overtime, PLUS if you’re non-exempt then some person/people have to spend their own time dealing with your time tracking and calculating your pay check-to-check.

          1. NobodyHasTimeForThis*

            Where I work I would say about 70% of exempt staff make between $45 and $55K. They simply could not afford the budget to give them the $10K raise so they would need to make them non-exempt because they would become automatically eligible for overtime.

            1. Rachel*

              That is the situation I am in. I like being non-Exempt because I can flex my time a little bit that way. I never work overtime; I wouldn’t get more money going back to non-Exempt. But as “NobodyHasTime” suggests, I work in a place where a number of us make close to, but below, the threshold. They’re not going to be able to give everyone raises, so either I am going to have to make a good case for myself, or I am going to get bumped. I am just hoping this turns out like the Obama-era overtime rule and gets delayed long enough for me to get over the salary threshold.

              1. Beth*

                This is sneaky, but is there any way you could start finding opportunities to work overtime once in a while now, before the rule is finalized? That would give you a strong quantifiable reason to justify you getting a raise instead of being made non-exempt.

            2. I'm the Phoebe in Any Group*

              Salary is not the only criteria for exemption. Employers (or employees) cannot just decide to make people exempt. The IRA criteria for exemption include issues like professional status, decision-making power, authority, including hiring and firing authority, supervision of staff. The salary minimum and meeting the criteria must all be met in order to award exempt status. Employees cannot waive their rights to overtime pay and become exempt if they do not qualify.

              1. Elsajeni*

                Yes, but if you’re currently exempt at a salary of, say, $51,000, then (assuming you’re not misclassified) you must meet the other criteria — so you would still meet them even after the salary minimum increases. In that case, if you or your employer wants you to be exempt, increasing your salary to be above the new minimum would make you qualified to be exempt again.

              2. Elizabeth West*

                I was gonna say the same thing — it’s more than just the salary amount. I make more than the threshold, but I don’t have any of those powers and am hourly.
                Being non-exempt is a pain in the butt on days like today, when I have a doc appointment and have to make up the time, but it’s nice when I have to work late to finish something.

          2. SharkeyPA*

            Generally, the employer can’t just decide–there are criteria for what makes employees exempt. One test is the wages test, which is addressed in this post. The other is the duties test (e.g., whether the role manages people or business operations, exercises independent judgment, etc.). There are a lot of nuances to it, so some employers will try to interpret it in a way that most benefits them.

          3. Over It*

            If this goes through, a lot of people making in the 50-55k range will likely get a small raise from their employer to put them over the threshold if the position is legally eligible, because it is often cheaper for the company than paying OT. It’s nice for anyone currently non-exempt who makes under the threshold, but sucks for anyone who is current makes overtime pay.

          4. I'm just here for the cats!*

            There is a lot more to what the company wants. There is a legal part of who is exempt and non exempt. An employer can’t say you are exempt, pay you a low wage and make you work overtime without pay. Similarly they cannot just give you a manager title to be exempt and expect you to work a basic entry job. The example I read in another article was they cant give a cook at McDonalds the title of Manager but expect him to still do his cooking job and not get paid overtime.

      2. Panda96*

        Phew glad to read this. I’m non-exempt (in a healthcare field that typically exploits exempt employees) and an working lots of paid overtime to pay off student loans so I was getting anxious thinking I’d have to give it up.

      3. NobodyHasTimeForThis*

        I think this will be an interesting thing at my workplace. We have a large number of exempt staff who make well below this threshold. But there are perks like you get more vacation sooner if you are exempt and sick leave works a little differently.

        If they have to roll a bunch of people back to non-exempt they will get pushback even if they let them keep their vacation. Our time system is a pain and to have to punch in and out for everything is not going to go over well.

        1. Sloanicota*

          I remember the last time this happened, a lot of the more junior level people who were affected took it quite badly. They felt it was a demotion / that they had bumped back down to hourly workers, they missed the flexibility, they didn’t like clocking in and out, and (most egregiously) they weren’t eligible for our “summer hours” program at first – although this got corrected. But mostly it was a status thing. I recall a comment here that it’s pretty amazing that we’ve trained people to think it’s “more professional” NOT to be paid for their work.

          1. I'm just here for the cats!*

            Where I worked in 2016 the team leads had similar grumbles. Mostly it was that they were still not get their (now unpaid) lunches, and getting ticked off at the other team leads who wouldn’t help their team. It was a whole fiasco that I was so glad not to be a part of.

          2. Orv*

            This happened at the university I work at, where the teaching assistants got a new contract that required them to submit timesheets. They balked at doing it because they saw it as demeaning busywork.

          3. Elsajeni*

            This happened at the university where I work, and to be fair, a big part of it was that overtime is rarely allowed for most positions, and because it’s a state university, they’re allowed to compensate you for it with comp time rather than actual cash — so you’re not really gaining any meaningful increase in pay, you lose a lot of flexibility and (in some cases) some of your benefits, plus now you have an extra leave category with finicky requirements to keep track of. (I was one of the people affected and I found it very irritating to get emails like “you have unspent comp time! you MUST spend your comp time within 4 pay periods of accrual!” and look at my balance and be like… great, guess I’ll book 17 minutes of leave this week, thanks.)

            1. Orv*

              Wow, I don’t think I’ve ever worked somewhere that tracked time in increments less than 0.5 hour. That’s pretty nuts.

          4. Annie*

            It all really depends on the situation. But like you mention, there can be a lot more flexibility if you are exempt. You often can just take an hour or so off if you have a appointment, you don’t have to keep track of every minute of every day, and there is more of a trust that you are just working to get your work done rather than being harassed if you are 5 minutes late back from lunch.

            To me, at that point in my life, it was well worth any small loss in pay to get a promotion to exempt and not have to deal with all of that. But I’m sure if I were someone that depended on overtime pay and the bump in pay didn’t cover that difference, it would definitely be a problem. And if you’re not used to the exempt freedoms, then you don’t really know what your missing.

            1. Chriama*

              There’s no reason not to allow non-exempt people to flex their hours around appointments though. A fixed daily schedule isn’t a requirement of non-exempt employees. You would have to make the time up if you wanted to be paid for it, obviously. But exempt people so often work over 40 hours a week that getting to duck out 2 hours early once or twice a month isn’t much of a consolation prize, in my book.

        2. Poppy*

          Exempt employees where I work get their 401k matched, more vacation days, and more sick days. I’m just below the salary threshold, so if I keep the same pay and get switched to non-exempt, it’d be a net loss for me.

          1. Kindred Spirit*

            Yes – And when I worked for a large international tech company, only exempt employees got stock options.

      4. Mimmy*

        I thought exempt vs. non-exempt was dependent on professional level, not pay.

        My apologies – I know the differences have been explained many times on AAM, but it’s just not sticking in my brain :(

        1. fhqwhgads*

          It’s both. There’s the duties test and the pay test. You can qualify based on duties but if they don’t pay you enough, you’re still eligible for OT. However, if you don’t qualify based on duties, it doesn’t matter how much they pay you, you’re still eligible for OT.

    2. TheBunny*

      Sort of? If you are salaried but make under the threshold they have to pay OT.

      Ran into this at a job in CA where we had salaried managers who were eligible for OT.

  3. ecnaseener*

    Exciting! And for those who don’t know, commenting on a doc in the Federal Register is very easy. You can do it anonymously if you want, and you just type into the comment box. If you can provide reasons for supporting/opposing the proposed rule, that’s great (the govt is required to look through all comments, it’s not like a petition or even like contacting your representatives) but just “I support/oppose the proposed rule” works too!

  4. Siege*

    Also note that you may live in a state with different protections. In Washington, our OT threshold will be increasing to approximately $78,000 on January 1 for employers with more than 50 employees, and just under $70,000 for employers with less than 50 employees. Hourly computer professionals have a different multiplier with a higher threshold, and it’s all linked to the CPI but to my knowledge, it’s happening regardless of the election outcome this fall.

    1. Siege*

      Also, there’s a schedule of increases over the next four years. By 2028, the Washington OT threshold will be $92k for all employers, assuming the CPI doesn’t do something stupid.

    2. Medium Sized Manager*

      Do you happen to have an article for this? Some of my team is located in WA and would be affected.

      1. Siege*

        If you search “Washington overtime threshold” there are several useful L&I links. Because of the CPI thing, the future increases aren’t certain, but the first L&I result is a good explainer and the second is a chart. I’ll put them in another comment but they’ll hit the automod.

    3. Jamie Starr*

      Yes, in New York (specifically NYC), the minimum threshold is already higher than this new proposed Federal threshold. (And has been for several years.)

      Also – this always comes up when discussing exempt/non-exempt. Being salaried doesn’t mean your position is automatically exempt! You can be salaried and non-exempt. It’s less common, ime, but still exists.

    4. Respectfully, Pumat Sol*

      WHAAAT. I’m in WA and make under that threshold and currently don’t get OT. That would be amazing.

          1. Respectfully, Pumat Sol*

            Okay, I make more than the 2024 number and less than the projected 2025 number. I guess we’ll see what my employer does come 2025. I need to make a note to follow up on this later in the year.

      1. Starbuck*

        Are you possibly a teacher or govt employee? There may be some exceptions but also a lot of employers break the law on this one because they “don’t know better”. Check on it!

        1. Siege*

          The only exception for exempt employees is computer professionals – I directly support teachers at the state level and this is going to come up next year for the majority of our members. It does depend on exempt vs non-exempt, of course, but I think you’re right that a lot of people aren’t getting the correct pay because employers don’t know.

          My guess is if they don’t fix it (and backdate it) L&I would be wry interested.

          1. Pam Adams*

            I think you’re right that a lot of people aren’t getting the correct pay because employers don’t know.

            Or say they don’t know.

          2. I'm the Phoebe in Any Group*

            Exempt does not apply to specific types of computer professionals, outside sales staff and first responders, defined very broadly.

          3. Luna (the other one)*

            Wait this new law is going to cover teachers now? The one in place now does not.

    5. Starbuck*

      Yes, reporting here from WA state where this has already had very positive effects for workers. It’s great, glad it’s possibly being bumped up nationwide again! The bar for demanding free overtime from workers should be MUCH HIGHER.

  5. Retail Dalliance*

    What will be so interesting is that many, many teachers in the United States earn well less than 55k per year. Most overtime is done at home (planning and grading). How would organizations track that? It would be crazy. I’m eagerly watching. (Me, a teacher earning 54k lmao)

    1. Starbuck*

      Teachers unfortunately are exempt from the threshold (and exempt from OT pay). It’s horrible.

        1. Chidi has a stomach ache*

          Oh, this is unfortunate. I was also thinking about how many teachers (esp in small private schools) are likely under the threshold. I forgot about the education carve-out.

    2. GigglyPuff*

      Probably won’t impact them, usually government employees (not just federal ones) have different rules.

      1. TK*

        As others have noted, teachers at all levels are specifically exempt regardless of pay (likely because of the issues Retail Dalliance notes), and that wouldn’t change.

    3. Over It*

      I don’t know how to track updates, but if it becomes law, I’d bet good money your school would just give you a 1k salary raise to put you back over the OT threshold. It tends to be cheaper to give people small raises rather than pay them thousands in OT (and much easier to budget for). I went through the same thing in 2016; my then non-profit’s plan for if the law had passed was to give us all small raises of about 2k rather than make us OT eligible, since working over a 40-hour week wasn’t uncommon. Unfortunately the law stalled and we got neither :( I left for greener and higher paying pastures before it finally passed in 2020.

      1. TK*

        As others have noted, teachers at all levels are specifically exempt regardless of pay (likely because of the issues Retail Dalliance notes), and that wouldn’t change.

  6. Cubs2024*

    The proposal went out for public comment in the fall of 2023, so the rule that is published soon should be the final rule without further comment opportunities. However, legal challenges may certainly delay effective date of it goes into effect at all.

    1. Throwaway Account*

      Ugh, I’m looking at the comments, so many are against it! I wish I knew last fall and could comment!

      1. Poppy*

        I’m against it because being reclassified as non-exempt is going to be such a nightmare and a big hassle. I work a in a very small group within a massoive rg. It’s a a pretty flexible 9-5 job and I never go over 40 hrs, but occasionally I’ll need to stay late or I can come in late or early. It’s hard to anticipate when I’ll be needed outside of regular hours. Our department has zero budget for OT, so if I had to go back to non-exempt I’d have to clock my hours to hit 40 each week. But what if I’ve worked 8 hours Mon-Thur then Friday congress and there’s an emergency that needs my attention? I’d have to leave my team high and dry.

        1. Starbuck*

          That’s on management to solve. If they have absolutely no OT budget, does that mean no one is getting annual raises either? A massive org with no OT budget doesn’t sound right.

          Regardless, having last-minute schedule flexibility (asking you to stay late with little notice) is a luxury service that they’ll need to pay for or go without. That wouldn’t be you leaving your team high and dry, it would be management.

          1. Orv*

            They can also offer comp time instead of paying overtime, but I don’t think they can REQUIRE you to take comp time.

            1. Starbuck*

              No, that’s only legal if they’re the government; businesses and non-profits are required to pay the 1.5 OT rate, not offer comp time. Well I guess they could offer comp time on top of the OT pay, but they have to pay you.

              1. Orv*

                Huh, did that change? Back in 2005 I worked for a place where I routinely got 1.5x comp time instead of time-and-a-half pay for OT.

          2. another Hero*

            yeah, “I am against a lot of not-particularly-well-paid workers making more money because it might inconvenience my employer sometimes” is a remarkable take

        2. Dancing Otter*

          In the finance division, a lot of people spend a lot of time calculating and explaining budget variances. Unless you’re funded by government appropriations, budgets are PLANS.
          Sometimes things don’t turn out as planned. If utility rates increase 10%, the company doesn’t turn off the water / heat / lights one day out of ten. If the city raises the license fees, will the company choose to operate unlicensed rather than go over budget? (OK, make that SHOULD; there are probably ones that would try to get away with it.) Vendors change prices. Equipment breaks down.
          If a manager can’t get everything done without having their employees work overtime, they can either adjust expectations or explain the budget overage to TPTB. If the work needs to be done, the workers deserve to be paid.

    2. FedPolicyNerd*

      This is correct (and what I came here to say). As a final rule, it will be published with an effective date – which will be a minimum of 30 days from the date of publication, or 60 days from the date of publication for major rules (which I assume this one is).

      More on the process here:

    1. I'm just here for the cats!*

      I think that is right, at least for federal government. I’m not sure about state/local, I think certain other fields like doctors in an ER. If state government is except then i wonder would state universities be exempt?

      1. RVMan*

        State and local are also not covered. Most of us get 1 to 1 compensatory time instead of time-and-a-half overtime.

        1. doreen*

          From the Wage and Hour Division of DOL

          ” Under certain prescribed conditions, employees of State or local government agencies may receive compensatory time off, at a rate of not less than one and one-half hours for each overtime hour worked, instead of cash overtime pay.”

          They can give you comp time – but it should be time and a half. Unless it’s like the government jobs where my normal workweek was 35 or 37.5 hours – I got straight time until 40 hours.

  7. BottleBlonde*

    My salary was increased preemptively last time this was discussed seriously in 2016. At the time I was an exempt employee earning less than the proposed minimum. I wish the same for others this time around!

    1. Iris Eyes*

      I think this was the case for a fair amount of people, even it just looking like a serious option is enough to get some people raises and that’s not nothing.

  8. Margaret*

    It’s important to note that this salary level is not scaled by your FTE, at least as it was explained to me by our HR office. If you have an employee who is earning $100k in their full-time role, but wants to go to half-time, you would have to pay them at least $55k (e.g., the full-time equivalent of $110k, i.e., more than they were earning before). There’s no graduation by %effort.

    1. Sloanicota*

      The part time stuff is always weird with these rules. I guess it was just a bit too complicated to incorporate but I remember it being an issue last time too.

    2. Starbuck*

      This always seemed weird to me though as a concern – why should it matter if your part time employee is below the salary threshold for OT – you’re not going to ever need to pay them OT, surely, since they’re part time and not getting close to 40 hours or going above it?

      1. doreen*

        Depends , really on what the part-time job is. For a lot of part-time jobs, it won’t matter. They will never get near 40 hours and certainly won’t go over. But some might – maybe they are working extra hours for a week or two to cover for someone on vacation or a vacant position or there’s a busy season. You won’t be able to take that person who is earning $40K for 20 hours and just pay them the salary that equates to $80 K for the three weeks they worked 50 hours. ( I’m not actually certain what would have to happen but it won’t be that simple)

  9. smirkette*

    Non-profit EDs/CEOs are about to lose their minds—including educational institutions.

    1. Sloanicota*

      Unfortunately education workers are often carved out :( Agricultural workers is another common carve out which really stinks too.

    2. Professor Dog*

      I’m looking forward to the havoc, personally. I used to work for a labor rights nonprofit in WA, and my ED refused to allow any discussion of- or advocacy for- raising the threshold…because it would force her to either pay her own employees a living wage or stop demanding unreasonable work hours from us. The hypocrisy of a labor rights nonprofit throwing countless other workers under the bus so it could continue exploiting its own employees was lost on her. Like, not a shred of regret or acknowledgement that maybe her position was out of line with our mission.

      Nonprofits can do good work, but too many of them calcify into institutions too concerned with their own existence than with their mission.

      1. Starbuck*

        I’m in the non-profit field in WA and it’s been a good thing in my network. That, plus our pay transparency laws. No more “competitive salary” or “pay commensurate with exp” in job postings and then you get an offer and find out they want to pay you a $30k salary for 50-hour weeks after you’ve graduated with student loan debt. Our staff at my org has only grown since these laws went into effect.

        No matter how important the mission, non-profits that can’t keep up with basic worker protections deserve to fail.

      2. CommanderBanana*


        There’s a woman on Instagram who does this bit as the clueless non-profit boss who is always going on about how the organization can’t afford things like sick leave or health insurance while “just getting back from Turks and Caicos.”

        If you’ve worked in the nonprofit world, you know.

  10. Kate*

    Is anyone else from academia here? I’m very curious how this might affect contingent faculty at your institution.

    Where I am, contingent faculty (full-time one year contracts) start at $40K a year. I’m trying to picture whether my administration would hire fewer of those folks at $55K a year, raising everyone’s courseloads, or try to cover all the teaching they do with adjuncts teaching 2 courses/semester max, which would be an absolute mess.

      1. Former academic*

        Yes, my understanding is that this would affect higher ed staff but not teaching.

  11. HonorBox*

    Alison, a question: There’s something in there about highly-compensated earners, as well. What is your understanding of that? I don’t quite follow what the rule actually means by that, and I’m curious about that as it relates to overall impact on a business.

    1. Starbuck*

      It means if they pay professionals over a certain (much higher) threshold, the duties test doesn’t apply in the same way and they can be classified as exempt from OT. Here’s an answer from a legal ruling:

      “The Fair Labor Standards Act, which governs federal wage law, says that “highly compensated employees,” those making over $107,432 per year in total compensation, which includes at least $684 per week in salary, are exempt from overtime compensation as long as they perform at least one exempt duty, such as supervising two or more employees or exercising administrative authority. These employees need not perform all of the exempt duties under either the administrative, executive or professional exemptions to qualify; instead, they need only perform at least one”

    2. Mid*

      The exempt/non-exempt rule is kind of two rules shoved into one. To be exempt, you have to make over a certain amount *and* have certain job duties. The default assumption should be that everyone is required to be paid for OT, unless they meet specific criteria, with the job duties test and the salary test.

      For example, almost all legal staff (paralegals) are non-exempt, despite typically making well over the income threshold, they still need to get paid for OT.

      There are exemptions for things like outside sales, executive, administrative, or certain professions, and the criteria typically requires that someone have the ability to make decisions independently in their role or managing people, along with making a certain salary. (That would be the Administrative test and the Executive Exemption test.)

      The Professional test means people are exempt if they perform work that requires advanced knowledge or an advanced degree and they’re in a specialized field of science or learning.

      This is the test that means doctors, teachers, and lawyers are exempt from OT. As well as the Highly Compensated Employee exemption, which is for people who are currently making more than $107,432 annually for non-manual work and is performing at least one of the exempt duties under the professional, executive, or administrative tests.

      (There are the exemptions for other miscellaneous industries, like entertainment, agriculture, railroad and trucking, but that’s a whole different conversation.)

      The highly paid employees part seems to be about adjusting classification of workers so less of them fall under exempt categories, (which have been fairly broadly interpreted,) even if their salary is over the minimum threshold. My understanding of it is that the criteria to fall into one of the three exemption categories (administrative, executive, and professional) is going to be tightened up, so people will be considered non-exempt even if they’re making more than the current “highly paid” limit.

      1. TK*

        An addendum to this is that teachers (at all levels, so this includes people like adjunct professors too, who otherwise would never be paid enough to be exempt) are specifically always exempt regardless of pay.

  12. HereWeGoAgain*

    I can’t wait to see how my Higher Education organization messes this up again, especially since they don’t want to pay us more…ever. And sad that after how many years I have I am still below this threshold.

  13. Festively Dressed Earl*

    Alison, could you please add a link to the proposed rule in the Federal Register so everyone can see the specifics? I think it’s 29 CFR 541, RIN 1235-AA39 unless I’m mistaken.

  14. Festively Dressed Earl*

    If anyone wants help looking this up on the Federal Register, it’s RIN 1235-AA39. Comments on the proposed rule are closed, but I think there will be another chance to show support once the rule is published.

  15. Donkey Hotey*

    It’s welcome and it’s wonderful and I still wonder why these always come out in election years.

    1. Orv*

      There are obvious political reasons, but a less obvious one is that it takes a long time to get stuff like this through the rulemaking process. It can take most of a four year Presidential term just to get a proposal to this point. If they try to short-cut it, the odds of it being overturned in court go way up.

  16. Spreadsheet Queen*

    This would have been welcome in the early 90s when I was working retail management at 19K per year, often in excess of 70 hours per week (and that one awful 90-hour week). Basically worked off the backs of “management” because corporate wouldn’t allow us to staff at appropriate levels to get all the work done AND, you know, serve customers. (Of course, minimum wage was $3.35/hr then, so we were technically making at least minimum wage… ) Thank goodness I found a better career.

    1. Starbuck*

      Ugh yeah there’s a reason the retail and food service industry lobbies always oppose these threshold increases, they exploit their salaried exempt managers a lot for that free overtime. I’ve had friends refuse management promotions and the pay raises that would have come with them because they saw the schedules managers worked!

  17. I'm the Phoebe in Any Group*

    Some categories of the people who are automatically exempt, regardless of salary, really stink, especially teachers (including adjunct faculty) and many agricultural workers, who can legally be paid less than minimum wage.

  18. Higgs Bison*

    So no change to the carve-outs for fields that can currently be low wage and exempt like teaching and agriculture? Disappointing.

  19. Sherri*

    Please see what just happened in California. Many people did not get a salary increase because they got laid off.

    The threshold should definitely be increased regularly for inflation, but outside of that the govt should leave well alone.

    A thriving economy will do more to make workers better off than regulation will.

    1. Thornus*

      The economy has overall been thriving since the 1980s, and pay hasn’t kept up with inflation or productivity over that span, so I don’t buy that.

  20. Seen Too Much*

    We operate in over 20 states. Several of which have higher thresholds than the federal government. We have made a business decision to conform with the highest state for all employees. NY, CA, PA, and WA all have thresholds over $60k for 2024. Then we look at JDs to see who would still be classified as non-exempt.

    You would be surprised, or maybe not, by how many people are mad about being “hourly”.

    1. Massive Dynamic*

      There’s definitely a perception that salaried jobs = more prestige, higher level. But we lose so much in OT protection for this prestige. Hopefully these higher thresholds help change mindsets a bit.

      I know a high wage earner in a billable client job who was hourly nonexempt in 2022, company switched them to exempt in 2023, and they ended up making more money in 2022 than 2023 even with a promotion and raise in 2023. That OT really adds up.

  21. Chriama*

    I’m not American, so forgive my ignorance if I’m missing something incredibly obvious, but I don’t understand why the minimum has to be a single number across the country instead of being tied to something like median income or cost of living of the state/county? I remember reading a comment when the first change was proposed years ago from someone in a rural area who said the amount (somewhere around 50k maybe?) was way above average wages for the area and didn’t make sense.

    It seems to me that a single federal number will be unrealistically high in some areas while also still too low to provide a living wage in other areas.

    1. Aitch Arr*

      Many states will set their own minimums above the federal level.
      The federal level is the floor.

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