Vol. 19 No. 13- Revisions To Federal Overtime And Minimum Wage Regulations

August 16, 2004

Recently, one of our clients brought to our attention a flyer it received by fax, stating that the U.S. Department of Labor had revised the federal overtime law and that August 23, 2004, was the deadline to comply with the new regulations. The flyer urged the client to sign up for a training seminar to learn more about the new regulations. Based on our research, although you may receive such a flyer, the new regulations generally will not apply to you.

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) governs the federal minimum wage and overtime requirements. Revisions have been made to Part 541 of the FLSA, which deals with exemptions to the requirements that employees be paid for overtime work at one and one-half their regular rate.

However, the new regulations state that these exemptions do not apply to “police officers, detectives, deputy sheriffs, state troopers, highway patrol officers, investigators, inspectors, correctional officers, parole or probation officers, park rangers and others who perform such work as preventing or detecting crimes; conducting investigations or inspections for violations of law; performing surveillance; pursuing, restraining and apprehending suspects; detaining or supervising suspected and convicted criminals, including those on probation or parole; interviewing witnesses, interrogating and fingerprinting suspects; preparing investigative reports; or other similar work.” This is regardless of rank or pay level.

The types of employees listed above do not fall within the exemption from the duty to pay overtime for “executive employees,” because their primary duty is not management of the enterprise where they work or a customarily recognized department or subdivision of the enterprise.

These employees also do not fall within the exemption for “administrative employees” because their primary duty is not the performance of work directly related to the management or general business operations of the employer or the employer’s customers.


What this means is that, for the most part, the new regulations do not apply to law enforcement officers, regardless of rank or pay level. So, for example, the rank of captain will not automatically cause an officer to be exempt from the overtime and minimum wage requirements. However, police chiefs or deputy police chiefs who are responsible for the entire organization are exempt from the requirements to pay overtime.