Attorney General James Leads Multi-State Coalition To Oppose Federal Rollback Of Overtime Protections 

Overtime Protections For Over 600,000 Workers In New York At Risk   

NEW YORK -- New York Attorney General Letitia James and Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro today led a coalition of 15 State Attorneys General in urging the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) not to adopt its proposal which reverses federal overtime protections for workers. It is estimated that under the proposed rule, over 8 million workers, including over 600,000 workers in New York, will lose overtime protections.   

“It is the fundamental responsibility of the U.S. Department of Labor to protect the workers of this country. This proposed rule is a complete abdication of that responsibility,” said Attorney General Letitia James. “New York stands with our fellow states in continuing to fight for employees and to enforce laws that hold employers liable for overtime violations.”

DOL’s proposed rule would change the white-collar exemptions under the Fair Labor Standards Act, which currently exempts from overtime protections for those in executive, administrative, and professional “white-collar” positions. In order for an employer to classify an employee as exempt, the employee must: 

  1. Be paid a fixed salary (the “salary basis test”);  
  2. Be paid a minimum specified salary (the “salary level test”); and  
  3. Have a job with duties that are executive, administrative, or professional in nature (the “duties test”).   

In 2016, DOL adopted a rule that raised the minimum salary level set in 2004 from a $455 in weekly earnings to $913 in weekly earnings. This change resulted from a review which concluded that the higher salary level would be an effective way to protect employees against misclassification and would be consistent with DOL’s historical practice. DOL also included an automatic updating provision that would increase the salary level every three years. The Trump Administration’s proposed rule seeks to rescind the 2016 Final Rule by lowering the salary level from $913 to $679 and would eliminate the automatic updating provision.    

The comment letter details the state’s concerns that DOL’s weakening of the salary level test will make it harder for the states to enforce labor laws, and it will lead to more FLSA violations by employers who misclassify workers as white-collar employees. 

Along with New York and Pennsylvania, today’s comment letter was filed by the Attorneys General of California, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, Rhode Island, Virginia, Washington and the District of Columbia.