Today, the Senate Health, Labor, and Pensions Committee voted 13-9 to advance the nomination of Jessica Looman, who has been serving as the top official of the Wage and Hour Division of the U.S. Department of Labor, to be the permanent administrator of the agency. Looman’s nomination has been held in the committee for several months and likely will now progress to a full vote in the Senate before the current Congressional term expires.
Looman has been a steady, professional voice within the Labor Department during her tenure. Investigations have continued, but without the rhetorical flourishes and excesses that wound up dooming the previous nomination of David Weil, the Wage and Hour Division Administrator in the Obama Administration. As has become the norm in Democratic administrations recently, the Wage and Hour Division has not been issuing opinion letters, but has otherwise been responsive to employer inquiries.
Looman’s advancement may bring with it in due course proposed regulations amending the salary threshold and possibly other changes to the regulations defining exempt executive, administrative, and professions employees under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The Wage and Hour Division had stated earlier this year that these proposed regulations would be issued by the fall of 2022, but they may have been delayed at least in part by a desire not to contribute to any controversy over Looman’s nomination. Other issues, such as the potential rail strike and other Congressional business, may further delay the timing of these regulations and a full Senate vote on Looman, but employers should not assume the proposed changes in the FLSA regulations will be delayed much longer.
We will continue to keep you updated on all developments relevant to the progress of Looman’s nomination as Wage and Hour Division Administrator.