April 2004--On April 20, 2004, U.S. Secretary of Labor Elaine L. Chao announced the final regulations governing overtime eligibility of "white collar workers" under the Fair Labor Standards Act. The regulations had not seen a significant revision during the last 50 years.

Under the new FairPay rule, workers earning $23,600 annually or less are guaranteed overtime, which nearly triples the old salary threshold of $8,060. The change guarantees protection for 6.7 million low-wage salaried workers, including 1.3 million white-collar workers who were previously ineligible for overtime pay.

In addition, the definition of "blue-collar" worker was more clearly defined to include police officers, fire fighters, paramedics, emergency medical technicians and licensed practical nurses, specifically expressing their entitlement to overtime protection.