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The FLSA Ruling May Be on Hold, But HR Professionals Are Getting a Boost

Ready, set, and … hold? As HR professionals, we’re always on our toes, and this year’s hot topic has certainly kept us on our feet as we determined how best to proceed with the FLSA Overtime saga. Whether or not your organization felt ready for the momentous ruling, the announcement of the preliminary injunction halting the implementation of the ruling, originally slated for December 1, 2016, has brought some good tidings – that we’ve now all been granted some more time to budget and strategize! We’ll consider it a gift for the holidays.

While we’re waiting to see how this will all play out, recent PayScale data shows that in anticipation of the FLSA ruling, organizations have been proactive in moving toward market-competitive pay. Even within the HR realm, our findings show that the transformation has been quite substantial in the latter half of 2016. Quite a few HR roles having fewer employees earning below the proposed exemption threshold.

FLSA Ruling - HR jobs with employees below the new flsa threshold

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We have tracked the number of employees whose pay falls below the proposed threshold for a number of jobs on a quarterly basis for the past couple of years. We found that a lot of HR jobs now have significantly fewer people being paid below proposed threshold. The implication is that in the second half of 2016, companies may have increased pay above the proposed threshold for the employees in these jobs in anticipation of the FLSA ruling.

How is your organization preparing for the newest murky waters of the new Department of Labor (DOL) landscape? While organizations are focusing on market-competitive pay, these changes raise interesting questions about the evolution of job roles and duties and their continued qualification for the DOL exemption status. The key question that we’re all concerned about: will we now be expected to do more as a result of our continued exemption status and potentially increased pay? As we know, a job title itself does not make an individual exempt, and the qualifications for exempt status have not changed. But we’ll be keeping an eye on whether the key roles and responsibilities start to shift over the course of the next few quarters.

Businesses may feel the pressure or strain if they can’t find the right balance between managing labor costs while maintaining morale and productivity, and a new professional work culture is undoubtedly being ushered in with the looming FLSA ruling. Newly exempt employees will definitively undergo change as to how they get their work done. It’s always a good time to think about employee engagement and collective well-being so that no matter what the direction of the FLSA ruling, we can all be better prepared!

Have your responsibilities shifted as a result of a changed exemption status? We’d like to hear about it in the comments section below.

Christen Galletta
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I think compensation and HR professionals have the opportunity to help business leaders make solid decisions on how to treat/manage the workforce. As compensation professionals, we focus on the price of the job. That said, I believe there are many organizations who take advantage of workers and have them in lower paid exempt roles where there are consistently working 60 plus hours a week. I also believe there are many organizations who have people in lower paid exempt roles where their standard week might be around 45 hours – but that is because the worker is learning the ropes and… Read more »

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