As we have been following on this blog, Governor Wolf announced in January 2018 that the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry (DLI) would propose new regulations under the Pennsylvania Minimum Wage Act (PMWA) that would modify the PMWA’s overtime and minimum wage exemption requirements for executive, administrative, and professional salaried employees. DLI submitted a proposed rulemaking in June 2018 for new regulations, which included both big increases to the minimum salary requirements and changes to the duties tests for the PMWA’s white-collar overtime exemptions.
Public comments on the proposed regulations closed in August 2018, and in September 2018, the state’s Independent Regulatory Review Commission published critical comments and questions regarding the proposed regulations. We currently wait to see whether the DLI will issue final regulations in 2019 and whether and to what extent the final regulations will differ from the controversial proposed regulations.
It increasingly appears that the U.S. Department of Labor also will issue (at least proposed) new regulations on the federal Fair Labor Standards Act’s own white-collar exemptions in 2019. Reports recently indicated that the DOL has drafted proposed overtime exemption regulations and sent them to the White House’s Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs for review. This is consistent with prior statements from the DOL of its intention to issue new proposed regulations in March 2019.
As you may recall, the DOL’s last attempt to revise the FLSA’s overtime exemption regulations were blocked by a federal court in Texas. The contents of the DOL’s latest proposed regulations are unknown, although most observers expect some increase in the existing minimum weekly salary requirement of $455. (The size of the expected increase is anyone’s guess at this point.)
So what does this mean for Pennsylvania employers? It is fair to assume that we will see new regulations redefining the requirements for the white-collar overtime exemptions under both federal and Pennsylvania law in 2019. It also is fair to assume that the requirements under these new sets of regulations will not be identical. Thus, employers will need to reevaluate those employees they currently treat as exempt under one or more of the white-collar exemptions and determine whether these employees would meet both sets for new requirements in time for the new regulations’ effective dates.
We will continue to monitor these developments and update our blog as events warrant. Stay tuned for what promises to be an eventful 2019!