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Most Colleges Will Change Overtime Policies Despite Judge’s Blocking of New Rule

A majority of colleges will proceed with at least some of the changes they’d planned to comply with a new federal rule on overtime pay that was blocked last month by a federal judge, according to a survey of 495 institutions by the College and University Professional Association for Human Resources.

The new rule, which had been expected to take effect on December 1, would increase the pool of employees eligible for overtime pay, from those earning up to $23,000 annually to those earning up to a threshold around $47,000. Colleges spent much of the past year identifying which of their employees would become eligible for overtime pay under the new rule, and how to budget for those changes accordingly.

But when the judge blocked the rule, saying the Labor Department had exceeded its authority and ignored the intent of Congress in issuing the policy, colleges were left with a few options: Move forward with changes they’d planned to comply with the rule, or delay them.

The survey by the human-resources association found that 28 percent of institutions intended to carry out all changes they’d planned. Thirty-two percent said they would make some changes and delay others, and nearly 32 percent will delay all changes. Only 8 percent said they’d roll back or reverse some or all planned changes.

The survey results also show that public institutions are more likely to reverse planned changes than are private institutions, and least likely to carry out all changes.

The policy shift most likely to be made by institutions that said they’d selectively carry out and delay changes is to raise the “salaries of one or more professional positions above the threshold,” the survey found. And the change most likely to be delayed or placed on hold was “reclassifying one or more positions from exempt to nonexempt,” a reference to which jobs would be covered by the new rule.

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