Press Release

September 24, 2019

Colleges and Universities Have Until January 1 to Comply With New DOL Overtime Rule

This morning, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) released the final rule increasing the salary threshold for white-collar exemptions to the federal overtime pay requirements under the Fair Labor Standards Act from $23,660 to $35,568. DOL did not make any changes to the duties test. The Labor Department has reaffirmed its intent to update the salary threshold more regularly but did not include any mechanism to automatically update the threshold. Employers will need to be in compliance with the new rule by January 1, 2020.

The College and University Professional Association for Human Resources (CUPA-HR)’s 2019 Professionals in Higher Education Survey provided a snapshot of professional areas most likely to be impacted by changing the salary threshold to $35,308, the anticipated threshold at the time of publication. These positions, which have the highest number of exempt employees who are currently paid below the salary threshold, include student admissions counselors, student residence hall managers, childcare center teachers and assistant baseball coaches.

Of all higher education exempt professionals, 96 percent were found to be paid at or above the proposed exemption threshold of $35,308. This means that only 4 percent of exempt professionals would need to be re-evaluated for possible exempt-status changes or salary increases. Areas with a relatively high percentage of exempt employees below the threshold include athletic affairs (12 percent) and student affairs (7 percent).

Colleges and universities that adopted the Obama administration’s higher salary threshold of $47,476 (an injunction stopping this rule was issued on November 22, 2016) will also need to determine what impact, if any, the implementation of the lower threshold will have on their organizations.

On October 3, Alex Passantino, partner of Seyfarth Shaw and former acting administrator of DOL’s Wage and Hour Division, will present a free webinar on the new rule and how colleges and universities will be impacted. Visit CUPA-HR’s FLSA Overtime Resources page for additional information.


CUPA-HR is the recognized authority on compensation surveys for higher education, with its salary surveys designed by higher ed HR professionals for higher ed HR professionals and other campus leaders. This marks CUPA-HR’s 22nd year of data collection on higher education professionals. Learn more about CUPA-HR research.

CUPA-HR is higher ed HR. We serve higher education by providing the knowledge, resources, advocacy and connections to achieve organizational and workforce excellence. Headquartered in Knoxville, Tennessee, and serving over 31,000 HR professionals and other campus leaders at more than 2,000 member institutions and organizations around the country and abroad, the association offers learning and professional development programs, higher education salary and benefits data, extensive online resources and just-in-time regulatory and legislative information.

Contact Information
Erin Rosolina
Marketing Manager – Communications and Marketing


The CUPA-HR office will be closed Fridays through August 19.