The Higher Ed Workplace Blog

CUPA-HR Submits Letter to DOL Requesting Stakeholder Meetings Prior to Anticipated Overtime Proposed Rule

On February 8, CUPA-HR and 14 higher education organizations sent a letter to the Department of Labor (DOL) Wage and Hour Division (WHD)’s Acting Administrator Jessica Looman requesting that the agency engage in stakeholder meetings with the higher education community during the initial stages of the rulemaking process for the anticipated overtime rule.

In December 2021, the DOL announced in its Fall Regulatory Agenda that it plans to issue a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) this April to update the salary level to qualify for the executive, administrative and professional employee exemptions (collectively known as “white collar” or “EAP” exemptions) to the Fair Labor Standard Act’s overtime pay requirements. In 2015, the Obama administration’s DOL proposed an increase to the threshold of over 100 percent from $23,660 to $50,440 per year. After the comment period ended, the DOL issued a final rule in 2016 that would have increased the level to $47,476. The rule was stayed and then overturned by a federal court in 2017; however the Trump administration DOL reevaluated the rule in light of the litigation and issued a new rule in 2019 that increased the salary threshold starting January 1, 2020, to $35,568 per year.

While the DOL has not publicly stated the salary threshold increase it is considering for the April NPRM, members of Congress and advocates have recommended that the Biden administration DOL increase the threshold by over 100 percent to at least to $82,732 by 2026.

Given the likelihood that the DOL is feeling significant pressure from certain stakeholders to pursue a robust increase, CUPA-HR drafted the letter highlighting higher education’s significant involvement with DOL’s prior rulemakings in 2016 and 2019 and the particular concerns institutions harbored with the 100 percent increase to the salary threshold in 2016. It further explains that due to the pandemic-related workforce changes across colleges and universities, the DOL must hold stakeholder meetings with our community before issuing the anticipated overtime NPRM — as was done in 2004, 2014 to 2015, and 2019.

CUPA-HR will keep members apprised of any actions taken by the DOL as it moves forward with the overtime rule.