What Ever Happened to the Department of Labor’s New Overtime Rule?

10 July 2017 Labor & Employment Law Perspectives Blog
Authors: Kamran Mirrafati

As our readers may recall, last year we devoted a good amount of time addressing the Department of Labor’s (DOL) final rule on overtime exemptions. Under that rule, which was supposed to go into effect on December 1, 2016, the minimum salary required to be exempt from overtime requirements under the certain Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) exemptions was supposed to increase to $47,476 (up from $23,660).

However, that increase never came to be. As we previously reported, in November 2016, a Texas federal judge issued a temporary nationwide injunction preventing the Obama administration DOL’s controversial rule from taking effect.  This ruling was appealed to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, but repeated extensions have been granted since the Trump administration took over.

Just recently, the Trump DOL filed a brief with the Court of Appeals indicating that it will not seek to reinstate the high salary thresholds proposed by the Obama administration — which more than double the current threshold. However, the brief also included a request that the court overturn any finding that the DOL generally lacks the power to set a different salary level.

The brief essentially indicated that, while the DOL is not advocating for the specific salary threshold set by the Obama administration, the DOL still plans to assert its power to use salary as factor in determining whether employees should be eligible for overtime. In other words, to the extent that the Court of Appeals affirms the DOL’s authority to set a salary threshold, the Trump DOL has indicated that it intends to raise the threshold above the current amount of $23,660.

We will keep our readers informed of any further developments on this important case.

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