Justice Department Won’t Appeal Obama Overtime Rule

The agency said it won’t continue to defend the extension of overtime benefits to millions of workers.
September 06, 2017

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Justice has dropped its appeal, filed during the Obama Administration, to fight a decision last year to delay former President Barack Obama’s overtime rule, The Hill reports. The Justice Department’s announcement comes after the same federal judge who delayed the rule last year formally overturned it because the U.S. Department of Labor didn’t use a salary-level test correctly to figure out which employees would be exempt from overtime compensation.  Even though the appeal was filed during the previous administration the Trump DOL had planned on moving ahead with the appeal in order to protect their ability to set their own standard. 

Texas federal District Judge Amos Mazzant’s new ruling returns the overtime salary cutoff to $455 per week ($23,660 per year), rather than $913 per week ($47,476 annually.) The Labor Department under Obama had objected to the judge’s decision to put the matter on hold last December. “We strongly disagree with the decision by the court, which has the effect of delaying a fair day’s pay for a long day’s work for millions of hardworking Americans,” the agency said. “The department’s overtime rule is the result of a comprehensive, inclusive rulemaking process, and we remain confident in the legality of all aspects of the rule.”

In the meantime, the Trump administration DOL has requested feedback on how to revise the Obama-era rule, with comments due on September 25. NACS plans to file comments.  It is widely expected that the Trump DOL will reissue a new revision of the rule, likely setting the salary threshold somewhere between the current threshold and where the Obama administration set it.