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New federal overtime rules affect newspapers

Compiled from the Maryland Chamber, ADP, Ohio Press Association and NAA reports.

The rule, effective December 1, 2016, will:

  • Increase the exempt salary threshold to $47,476 annually ($913/week)—an increase of slightly more than 100% from the current threshold of $23,660 annually ($455/week).
  • Increase the required minimum salary for the highly compensated employees' exemption to $134,004 annually from the current threshold of $100,000 annually.
  • There will be no changes to the duties test. (The DOL had indicated it was considering adding a quantification component similar to California’s that would have required employers to show an employee was performing exempt duties a certain percentage of time to qualify under the specific exemption.)
  • The salary threshold will be updated every three years and tied to the 40th percentile of full time salaried workers in the lowest wage region of the country (currently the Southeast).
  • The new standard permits employers to count nondiscretionary bonuses, incentives and commissions toward up to 10 percent of the required salary level for the standard exemption, as long as those amounts are paid on a quarterly (or more frequently) basis. In any given quarter - if an employee does not earn enough in nondiscretionary or incentive pay, the Final Rule permits employers to make a "catch-up" payment to maintain the employee's exempt status.
  • Employers will have until December 1, 2016 to come into compliance with the new requirement—a period of about 200 days.

Please note that current federal rules exempt local newspapers with a circulation of less than 4,000 from overtime and minimum wage requirements. According to Tonda Rush of the National Newspaper Association, however, it is important to note that this only applies to individual newspapers. In other words, the government would aggregate the circulation of small newspapers that are part of a group.

Click here for an overview and summary sheet from Department of Labor.

Click here for a sample compliance "Toolkit".

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