Notice of Proposed Rulemaking: Regular Rate
On March 28, 2019, the U.S. Department of Labor (Department) announced a proposed rule to amend 29 CFR part 778 to clarify and update regular rate requirements under section 7(e) of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).
The FLSA generally requires overtime pay of at least one and one-half times the regular rate of pay for hours worked in excess of 40 hours per workweek. Regular rate requirements define what forms of payment employers include and exclude in the “time and one-half” calculation when determining workers’ overtime rates.
Under current rules, employers are discouraged from offering more perks to their employees as it may be unclear whether those perks must be included in the calculation of an employees’ regular rate of pay. The proposed rule focuses primarily on clarifying whether certain kinds of perks, benefits, or other miscellaneous items must be included in the regular rate. Because these regulations have not been updated in decades, the proposal would better define the regular rate for today’s workplace practices.
The Department proposes clarifications to the regulations to confirm that employers may exclude the following from an employee’s regular rate of pay:
- the cost of providing wellness programs, onsite specialist treatment, gym access and fitness classes, and employee discounts on retail goods and services;
- payments for unused paid leave, including paid sick leave;
- reimbursed expenses, even if not incurred “solely” for the employer’s benefit;
- reimbursed travel expenses that do not exceed the maximum travel reimbursement permitted under the Federal Travel Regulation System regulations and that satisfy other regulatory requirements;
- discretionary bonuses;
- Benefit plans, including accident, unemployment, and legal services; and
- Tuition programs, such as reimbursement programs or repayment of educational debt.
The proposed rule also includes additional clarification about other forms of compensation, including payment for meal periods, “call back” pay, and others.
The Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) was published on March 29, 2019 in the Federal Register. Interested parties may submit comments on the proposal at www.regulations.gov in the rulemaking docket RIN 1235-AA24.
On May 13, 2019 the Department announced that comment period originally set to end on May 28, 2019 has been extended until June 12, 2019. Only comments received during the comment period will be considered part of the rulemaking record.
The Department will consider all timely comments in developing any final rule.
- Notice of Proposed Rulemaking: Regular Rate under the Fair Labor Standards Act
- Overtime Pay Website
- Fact Sheet: Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to Update the Regulations Governing the Regular Rate under the FLSA
- Frequently Asked Questions About the Proposed Rule
- Press Release [03/28/19]: Department of Labor Issues Proposal to Update the FLSA’s Regular Rate Regulations