Senate Confirms New Leader for DOL's Wage and Hour Division

Author: David B. Weisenfeld, XpertHR Legal Editor

April 10, 2019

The Senate has confirmed Cheryl Stanton to lead the US Department of Labor's (DOL) Wage and Hour Division more than a year and a half after President Trump had nominated her for the position. The vote was 53-45 and broke down largely along partisan lines.

Stanton is a former shareholder at the management-side employment firm of Ogletree Deakins and most recently worked as executive director of the South Carolina Department of Employment and Workforce.

Her confirmation comes at a crucial time, as the DOL announced plans last month to increase the minimum annual salary for most employees exempt from the Fair Labor Standards Act's (FLSA) overtime requirements from its current level of $23,660 to $35,308. It also has a proposal to change how employers calculate workers' overtime pay, as well as a potential new test for joint employment under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

These proposals are likely to generate many thousands of responses during the comment period, which the Wage and Hour Division must review before issuing final rules. Thus, it was seen as crucial for the DOL to have someone in place to head the Division.

During Stanton's five years as South Carolina's workforce director, the state's unemployment rate dipped to the lowest it has been in at least 50 years, including a decrease of more than 21,700, according to state data. But at the same time, South Carolina's percentage of eligible workers actually in the workforce has decreased and employers have struggled to find skilled employees.