On March 7, 2017, Senator Jeanine Calkin (D-Dist. 30 Warwick) and Representative Susan Donovan (D-Dist. 69, Bristol) introduced legislation in the Rhode Island Senate and the House of Representatives, respectively, that would, if enacted into law, significantly raise the salary level needed for executive, administrative, and professional employees to be exempt from overtime pay.
Under current law, executive, administrative, and professional employees who receive a salary in excess of $200 per week are exempt from overtime pay. The bill, if enacted into law, would raise the threshold to $1,306 per week. Further, the bill mandates that the threshold figure be adjusted yearly starting in 2020. The adjustment will be based on an updated salary basis of not less than the 40th percentile of weekly earnings of full-time non-hourly workers in the Northeast Census Region in the second quarter of the year preceding the update as published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
According to Senator Calkin, the bill was introduced to “help prevent the abuse of overtime law” since “the existing threshold has not been updated to keep pace with inflation.” Representative Donovan stated that given the current law’s low threshold, it is “a de facto exemption on overtime for all professional employees [that] has led to wholesale abuse of executive and administrators who sometimes work 60 hours a week without compensation, simply because their employer can get away with it.”
The bills are numbered 2017-S 0505 and 2017-H 5596 and have been submitted to the Senate and House Labor Committees. Both committees have recommended that the measures be held for further study.
Similarly, on May 18, 2016, the United States Department of Labor issued a revised rule that raised the salary ceiling under which employees are eligible for overtime pay from $23,660 to $47,476 a year, or from $455 to $913 a week. These changes have not yet gone into effect and are currently being litigated in the Federal Courts. For more detail, you can read Department of Labor Overtime Regulations on Hold.