In a lengthy report entitled “Rethinking Overtime” commissioned by the National Retail Federation, Oxford Economics analyzes the likely impact on businesses of the anticipated rise in the salary required for exempt status, one of the expectations of the Department of Labor’s review of the exemption regulations. The report, available here, notes that only where an employer takes no steps and is completely “passive” will a change in base salary result in increased pay for workers who transition from exempt to non-exempt under the new regulations. Much more likely is a variety of responses resulting in fewer exempt autonomous managerial positions in the middle ranks, with many employees “pushed down” to hourly roles while a small subset move up to remain exempt under the new tests, and “automation” replacing the use of human capital.

It is anticipated that the proposed regulations will be made public sometime in late spring or early summer, with the hotly-contested notice and comment period extending through summer into late 2015.