Department of Labor proposes extending overtime protections for more salaried workers

A recently proposed federal rule would guarantee overtime pay for most salaried workers earning less than $1,059 per week, or about $55,000 per year.

While most hourly workers are entitled to being paid time-and-a-half after working more than 40 hours, non-hourly workers in executive, administrative, and professional roles—including some supervisors—are exempt unless they make less than $35,568 a year.

Overtime protections

On August 30, the U.S. Department of Labor announced proposed revisions to the Fair Labor Standards Act that would restore and extend overtime protections to 3.6 million salaried workers.

The proposed revisions would not only increase the standard salary level by almost $20,000 but also update the highly compensated employee total annual compensation threshold from $107,432 to $143,988, which is the annualized weekly earnings of the 85th percentile of full-time salaried workers nationally. In addition, the rule would automatically update the salary threshold every three years to reflect current earnings data.

The Department of Labor will accept public comments on the rule until November 7. The agency will then review and respond to those comments before issuing a final rule, which would take effect 60 days after it's published. But the change will likely face legal challenges that could block or delay its implementation.

The College and University Professional Association for Human Resources has requested a 60-day extension to the comment period on the proposal, pointing out that the proposed increase to the minimum salary threshold is nearly 55% higher than the currently levels as well as automatic updates to the threshold will happen every three years.

"Such substantial changes will undoubtedly impact tens of thousands of current and future works on our campuses, especially given that many of our institutions are reliant on fixed State appropriations and federal research grants for funding, and host unique academic positions that may not easily align with these proposed regulatory adjustments," the CUPA-HR wrote.

Mean annual salaries reported by the American Association of Veterinary Medical Colleges for academic internship and residency positions secured through the Veterinary Internship and Residency Matching Program for the 2020–21 training year were $28,3723 and $35,098, respectively.

According to a November 2021 JAVMA article, "Residency training, although not necessarily internship training alone, may facilitate a more positive return, but the time required prolongs the period of financial instability by adding years of low wages, often referred to as a period of lost income.

"Financial dissatisfaction and indebtedness were associated with low well-being scores in a large survey of veterinarians, and inadequate financial reward was one of many factors implicated in burnout and job dissatisfaction among medical professionals at both the attending and resident level."

For veterinary technicians, the computed average annual salary, based on the average hourly rate and average hours per week, in 2022 was $52,000, according to the most recent demographic survey from the National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America (NAVTA). The median salary was $45,700.

These figures are in line with those from the U.S. Department of Labor Employment & Training Administration, which showed 90% of veterinary technicians in the U.S. earn at least $48,100 per year, averaging $23.13 an hour.

More information on how to comment on the propose overtime rule as well as a frequently asked questions document are available on the Department of Labor's website.