On March 13, 2014, President Barack Obama issued a memorandum directing the Department of Labor (“DOL”) to streamline overtime regulations and potentially make more workers eligible under federal law. The memorandum is part of an concentrated effort by the Obama administration to address the nation’s income gap through higher wages. President Obama is also pressing Congress to increase the federal minimum wage from $7.25 per hour to $10.10 per hour.
In the memorandum, President Obama directed DOL Secretary Thomas Perez to consider how the administrative and executive exemptions adopted by the DOL under the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) could be simplified and updated to address the changing nature of the American workplace. In signing the memorandum, President Obama stated that he wants “to restore the commonsense principle behind overtime–if you go above and beyond to help your employer and your economy succeed, then you should share a little bit in that success.”
This memorandum is the start of what will be a long process under the steps required by the Administrative Procedures Act. Next, the DOL will propose revisions and rules, which will be subject to public comment. Already, the memorandum is drawing ire from the business industry, so the public comment period is expected to be controversial and contentious.
A copy of the memorandum can be found here.