The U.S. Department of Labor on Wednesday made an estimated 4.2 million workers potentially eligible for overtime pay by roughly doubling the salary level below which they cannot be denied overtime under the so-called white-collar exemption to the federal Fair Labor Standards Act.

Effective Dec. 1, workers cannot be denied overtime pay under this exemption if they make less than $913 per week or $47,476 a year for a full-time employee.

The rule also raises the annual compensation limit that applies to workers who qualify under the "highly compensated employee" exemption to $134,004 from $100,000. This exemption applies to employees who don't supervise anyone but are involved in the administration of the enterprise, such as a comptroller, said Steven Suflas, managing partner with the law firm Ballard Spahr, which represents employers. But the new rule does not apply to other exemptions under the federal law, such as those that exempt teachers, agricultural workers and outside salespeople from overtime, he said.

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