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Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul
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May 22, 2019

ATTORNEY GENERAL RAOUL OPPOSES FEDERAL ROLLBACK OF OVERTIME PROTECTIONS

Chicago — Attorney General Kwame Raoul today joined a coalition of 15 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 will lose overtime protections.

“This proposed rule change would cause immediate harm to millions of workers and put them at risk of unlawful exclusion from minimum wage and overtime protections,” Raoul said. “I have long advocated against unlawful employment practices and will continue to protect workers across Illinois by ensuring labor laws are enforced.”

Raoul and the coalition filed a comment letter detailing states’ concerns that the U.S. 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 the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) violations by employers who misclassify workers as white-collar employees.

The U.S. DOL’s proposed rule would change the white-collar exemptions under the FLSA, which currently exempts from overtime protections 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”).
  3. Have a job with duties that are executive, administrative, or professional in nature (the “duties test”).

In 2016, the U.S. DOL adopted a rule that raised the minimum salary level set in 2004 from $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 the U.S. DOL’s historical practice of a setting salary level. The U.S. DOL also included an automatic updating provision that would increase the salary level every three years. The U.S. DOL’s proposed rule seeks to rescind the 2016 Final Rule by lowering the salary level from $913 to $679 and eliminating the automatic updating provision, which would make labor laws more difficult for state attorneys general to enforce and result in more pervasive misclassification.

Joining Raoul in filing the comment letter are attorneys general from California, Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Virginia, Washington and the District of Columbia.

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