Sorry employers, the ride’s not over yet. For those of you keeping track, the U.S. Department of Labor’s new overtime exemption rules were set to go into effect yesterday, December 1, 2016. However, on November 22, 2016, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas issued a nationwide preliminary injunction blocking the rules

Well folks, looks like all that work we did to get ready for the new exemption rules taking effect 12/1 was just for fun. A federal court just blocked the rules from taking effect nationwide. This is just in so we haven’t had a chance to digest the opinion yet, but here it is if

Every economist knows that there’s no such thing as a free lunch. That’s as true in the labor market as in any other area of the economy, but you’d hardly know that by reading the DOL’s publications promoting its new overtime exemption rules. For example, in a recent blog post, Dr. David Weil, Administrator of the DOL’s Wage and Hour Division, set out to debunk some purported “myths” about the new rules. Reading this post, one is left with the impression that the new rules will benefit pretty much every affected employee with no real burden on employers. Here are some thoughts on these “myths” and the “truths” that Dr. Weil offers in response to each:
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campus1610747MediumOne of the issues that colleges and universities are struggling with under the new FLSA overtime exemption rules is how to compensate residence hall directors. While responsibilities vary from institution to institution, residence hall directors generally are responsible for overseeing students living in a college or university residence hall. Their duties may include counseling students, applying and enforcing rules of conduct, coordinating and scheduling other workers, supervising student RAs, and similar responsibilities relating to the residence hall and its student residents. These positions can meet the “duties” test for exempt status under the administrative exemption, provided that they exercise the required level of discretion and independent judgment in the course of their duties. In some cases they might also qualify for an executive exemption if they supervise at least 2 or more other full-time employees (or more part-time employees whose hours are equivalent to two full-time workers). Residence hall director salaries usually are not large, in part because part of their compensation is typically provided in the form of free room and board. Residence hall directors are often required to live in their assigned residence hall. They often have extensive “on call” hours during which they are expected to be in or near their assigned residence hall, available to respond to any issues that may arise.

This combination of low salary and long “on call” hours is what makes these positions so difficult for colleges and universities under the new rules. Often the salaries for these positions fall far enough below the new minimum salary of $47,479 that a salary increase to the new minimum is not an option. Paying overtime may be equally cost-prohibitive if an employee is required to be “on call” in the residence hall and therefore potentially entitled to overtime pay for extended periods of each week, well beyond a typical 8-hour work day. So what can colleges and universities do with their residence hall directors under the new rules?
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