Labor Department Finalizes New Overtime Rule CASE STUDY

More American workers were going to be eligible for overtime pay under a rule finalized in May 2016 by the Department of Labor. The rule said anyone who makes less than $47,476 per year must receive time-and-a-half pay if they work more than 40 hours a week, doubling the previous threshold of $23,660.

We worked with a Labor and Employment attorney who was following this issue closely. A few days prior to the rule being finalized, we had him draft comments about what the new rule would mean for employers. We pitched those comments out to our national, international, state, and trade industry news media contacts covering labor and employment issues. Below are the comments that reporters and editors received:


“All companies realize that many more workers will have to track their time worked than before, and that raises the possibility of claims by workers that they are not being paid for all the time worked. This may lead to more wage hour claims by workers, which are a major concern for employers because of double damages provisions and attorney’s fees awards,” he says.

“Keeping track of hours worked is sometimes harder than it might appear. Punching a time clock is not required, yet employers are required to keep accurate records. How do you track the time required to read and respond to emails sent at all hours, or to answer calls outside of normal work hours? The answer, it appears, is very carefully, or you should expect to be sued,” he says.

” He also identifies at least five options for companies to consider for those workers who are currently exempt but whose salary falls below the new minimum:

  • Increase salary level to maintain the exemption (and not worry about overtime).
  • Divide current salary by 40 hours and switch to hourly (and worry about overtime).
  • Convert from salaried to hourly based on actual hours worked, so the net cost is the same (requires reliable information about hours worked and final pay will vary with hours worked).
  • Convert from salaried exempt to salaried non-exempt, and pay overtime for excess hours.
  • Fluctuating Work Week: Salary is for all hours worked, including overtime (special rules apply),” he says.

Over the course of that week and the next two months, we received numerous interview requests for this attorney as well as penned article requests. We spent time media training the attorney for print and broadcast interviews before he spoke with reporters, helped him fine tune articles, and managed media requests. The week that the rule was finalized some reporters were on such a tight deadline that they simply lifted his comments from our first pitch to save time.

The earned media from this pitch resulted in more than 305 media placements.


  • The Washington Post
  • The New York Times
  • CNBC Online
  • The Associated Press
  • McClatchy Newspapers
  • Fox News
  • CFO Online (penned article)
  • Westlaw Journal Employment (penned article)
  • The Miami Herald
  • The Seattle Times
  • ABC News
  • SHRM Online
  • Canadian Press
  • US News & World Report
  • NBC News Online
  • Denver Post
  • Minneapolis Star Tribune
  • Colorado Springs Gazette
  • Yahoo News
  • Fort Worth Business
  • Ottawa Citizen
  • Employment Law Daily
  • Canadian Business
  • SFGate