By Yuqi Wang, Policy Analyst, Economic Policy Project, NCLR
On November 23, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas blocked the Department of Labor’s (DOL) updated overtime eligibility rule from going into effect by suspending the rule’s December 1 enforcement date. The Department of Labor’s (DOL) updated overtime rule, finalized in May 2016, would have brought employers and workers into the 21st century by increasing the overtime salary threshold from $23,660 to $47,476. By siding with business interest groups, the Court’s decision is a blow to the 12.5 million workers who were counting on the updated overtime rule to provide them with the right to be compensated fairly for a hard day’s work. Workers in office and administrative positions, transportation and material moving professions, as well as construction occupations are just some of the people severely impacted by this decision.
It’s important to note that, contrary to the Court’s assertion that the DOL exceeded its authority, the agency has had the ability to change the minimum salary threshold for overtime for the past 78 years. In fact, the DOL has updated the salary threshold seven times since the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) became law in 1938.