Changes To FLSA Increase Number of Workers Covered

The Department of Labor (DOL) made several changes this summer, including two announcements that will likely expand the number of workers covered under the Fair Labor Standards Act. The first change involved “white collar” exemptions and the DOL’s proposed rule that the salary threshold for having exempt status be raised from $455/week to $970/week. Workers who are considered exempt do not earn overtime pay, regardless of the number of hours worked in a week. Employers may classify workers as exempt if they meet that threshold level of pay and fall into the category of performing executive, administrative, or professional duties.

Additionally, the definition of who may be considered an independent contractor has narrowed. Previously, the definition allowed greater flexibility for employers to categorize workers as “independent” and thus avoid many of the requirements owed to employees pursuant to federal and state law. Pursuant to the new interpretation, if one’s job duties are an “integral part” of an employer’s business, then this worker should be considered an employee rather than an “independent contractor.” In most instances, workers are performing work that is integral to an employer’s underlying business.

Other factors look at the opportunity for real profit or loss, the extent of a worker’s investment, the degree of skill required, the nature of the relationship (whether there’s a specific time frame), and the amount of employer control.

If you are a non-exempt employee, then you may be entitled to overtime pay at a rate of one and one-half times your hourly rate for time worked in excess of 40 hours in any one workweek. As a result, ensuring your classification is correct may have a significant impact on one’s take-home pay.

For more information or if you have questions about your employment classification, please contact the experienced Atlanta wage and hour lawyers at Buckley Bala Wilson Mew LLP for an immediate case evaluation.