May 18, 2016
For Immediate Release: May 18, 2016
Media Contact: Julie Rabinowitz, 621-5009
AUGUSTA—Maine’s Commissioner of Labor Jeanne Paquette has issued the following statement on the U.S. Department of Labor’s announcement Wednesday morning of the final changes to the overtime rules of the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).
“We appreciate that USDOL took time to make some changes to their initial proposed rules and delay the implementation date; however, these new rules will still have significant and far-reaching effects for Maine’s workers and employers. Because state statute recognizes the exemption from overtime for people working in a ‘bona fide executive, administrative or professional capacity’ and mandates that employers pay a salary according to the requirements of the FLSA if that is higher than the state requirement, all employers in Maine will be required to comply with the new rules for these categories of workers effective Dec. 1, 2016,” stated Commissioner Paquette.
“Employers” includes not only businesses, but non-profits and governmental entities.
“Our department will be providing compliance assistance to both employers and workers so everyone understands what the requirements are, how they are different from the current rules, and what steps must be taken to comply. As the first step, we urge employers to review the job duties currently being performed by their employees—not only job titles or job descriptions—who fall into the salary range between the old and new exempt thresholds. In addition, we encourage employers who have questions to reach out to their employment compliance advisors. We want employees to be accurately compensated,” she continued.
“We anticipate that many employers will choose to classify their workers as non-exempt and perhaps limit any overtime that a person works. These changes may pose a challenge for many workers because being salary exempt brings with it some flexibility and often additional benefits. We encourage employers to take time during the implementation period to educate employees about what changes they might expect and ensure that all policies around using leave time, meal and rest break requirements, accessing email or taking calls after hours and other tasks are clear.”
The Wage and Hour Division of the Bureau of Labor Standards is Maine’s regulatory agency overseeing labor and employment law; it provides both consultation and enforcement services. The division promotes and achieves compliance with labor standards to protect and enhance the welfare of Maine’s workforce.
To learn more about the rule changes or for additional resources, including those listed below, visit the USDOL website, http://www.dol.gov/overtime .