The AAMC Sept. 4 sent a comment letter to the Department of Labor regarding the “Notice of Proposed Rulemaking; Defining and Delimiting the Exemption for Executive, Administrative, Professional, Outside Sales and Computer Employees.” The rule proposes increasing the salary threshold under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) exemption criteria. As a result, universities would likely need to increase stipends, pay overtime, or reclassify many postdoctoral scholars.
In the letter, the AAMC expresses support for comments from both the College and University Professional Association for Human Resources (CUPA-HR) and the National Postdoctoral Association (NPA), noting “if the proposed change is made effective immediately, it may have unintended consequences that would negatively affect the very individuals it seeks to protect.”
The AAMC letter recommends:
- Any increase in the salary threshold for exemption should be graduated and incremental;
- An initial threshold that does not exceed the National Institutes of Health (NIH) guidelines for postdoctoral stipends, currently set at $42,840 for new trainees in FY 2015; and
- Postdoctoral scientists should be considered salaried, FLSA-exempt “learned professionals,” similar to medical residents.