Labor Dept. Drops Defense of Overtime Rule

The U.S. Department of Labor on Friday said that it would not defend the Obama administration's rule to expand overtime pay to millions more workers, The Hill reported. Instead, attorneys for the agency asked the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals to rule on whether the department had the right to set overtime eligibility using a worker's salary.

The regulation, which was set to take effect on December 1, sought to raise the salary threshold for workers automatically qualified for overtime pay from $23,660 to $47,476. The final version of the rule released included a teaching exemption but, would have applied to many who work in student affairs, admissions and other parts of colleges and universities. In late November, a federal judge issued a temporary nationwide injunction blocking the rule while it was being challenged in court by dozens of businesses and 21 state attorneys general.

"The Department has decided not to advocate for the specific salary level ($913 per week) set in the final rule at this time and intends to undertake further rulemaking to determine what the salary level should be," Labor Department attorneys wrote in Friday's court filing. "Accordingly, the Department requests that this Court address only the threshold legal question of the Department's statutory authority to set a salary level."

The agency, under the Trump administration, stated its intention to revisit that threshold in new rulemaking. The department took the first step to change the rule on Thursday, submitting a request for public comment to the Office of Management and Budget.


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