By James Pieper
In 2016, a dramatic overhaul of the rules for eligibility and payment of overtime under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) was on the verge of taking effect before being halted by an injunction issued by a federal judge.
With a new administration taking over the Department of Labor, the status of the overtime revisions has been uncertain. Nor was it known whether the Department would defend its authority to revise the rules in the subject litigation.
In a brief filed on June 30, the Department’s new leadership finally provided some clarity. The Department defended its legal authority to adopt a new rule (as had been challenged by the plaintiffs), but did not defend the actual changes proposed by the prior administration.
Accordingly, although the rule remains in legal and administrative limbo, it is clear that it will not take effect in the form proposed in 2016. Should the courts conclude that the Department does have authority to set the earning threshold (under which overtime must be paid to non-exempt employees) by administrative rule, then the new Department leadership will adopt a threshold lower than the amount of $47,476 that was set prior to the injunction.
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