As was anticipated, late yesterday afternoon a federal judge in the Eastern District of Texas, Amos Mazzant III, blocked the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL)’s overtime rule finalized in May 2016, that would have extended overtime pay to 4.2 million Americans. Had it gone forward employers would be required to pay exempt salaried employees earning less than $47,476 a year time-and-a-half when they work more than 40 hours a week. The previous threshold to qualify for overtime pay for these workers, last set in 2004, was $23,476. The new rule was scheduled to go into effect on Dec. 1
The Department of Labor has a right to immediately appeal the preliminary injunction – and it is expected to do so quickly – to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit; however, it is uncertain how long the appeal may take. While it is possible that the injunction could be overturned before the inauguration of president-elect Donald Trump, the Department of Labor and the 5th Circuit would need to move rapidly. If the preliminary injunction pushes the implementation date past Jan. 20, 2017, there will be time for the new Trump administration to reopen the rulemaking and revise the final rule.