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DOL files brief in challenge to Obama overtime rule

By Glenn Minnis | Jul 12, 2017

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NEW ORLEANS (Legal Newsline) – The U.S. Department of Labor has filed notice with U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, asserting that the government has presently “decided not to advocate” for a specific salary level in its ongoing dispute with states over what workers should be eligible for overtime pay.

As part of the government’s reassessment, the DOL also recently revealed it has no intentions of defending Obama-era regulations that automatically made anyone earning less than $47,000 a year, or $913 a week, eligible for overtime at a rate of time-and-a-half for any work over 40 hours a week.

Instead, the Trump administration filed notice with the court asserting it “intends to undertake further rulemaking to determine what the salary level should be,” which will at least partly be based on information gleaned from dialogue and communications with the public.  

The filing further requests that the appeals court reverse the lower court’s ruling based on its faulty reasoning and reaffirm the government’s statutory right to establish new parameters on the matter.

Several pro-labor organizations immediately saluted the proposed makeover as in the best interest of all parties.

"It's great to see a Department of Labor finally taking the time to fully evaluate the impact its regulations will have on businesses,” Restaurant Law Center executive director Angelo Amador said in a statement. “Secretary (Alexander) Acosta has once again proven he is a thoughtful leader who will work in the best interest of the American worker." 

It’s estimated Obama’s actions would have nearly doubled the number of overtime eligible workers to around 4 million. The change was set to officially take effect in December of 2016, before a federal court judge stepped in to issue an injunction.  

As far back as his 2016 campaign, President Donald Trump indicated he hoped small business owners would be exempted from the rule and during his confirmation hearing Acosta admitted he considered the Obama rule "a very large revision" that needed to be more closely vetted.

To keep up with inflation, Acosta previously told a Senate panel he may be open to raising the maximum salary level to just more than $30,000 as compared to its current rate of almost $24,000 per year.

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