The federal appeals court decided on February 22 to grant the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) another extension to take a position on overtime regulations.
The original rules were scheduled to go into effect December 1, 2016. These would have required that any employees that earn less than $913 per week (or $47,476 annually) receive overtime pay.
Businesses and states joined to challenge this rule in court. Just days before the overtime rule was to take effect, a federal district court judge granted a preliminary injunction, which temporarily halted this rule.
President Obama’s administration appealed the injunction order to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. Once President Trump took office, his administration was able to obtain a 30-day extension, which has now turned into 60 additional days, ultimately having a deadline of May 1.
The federal district court judge that granted the original injunction could still issue a permanent injunction. He also has the right to rule on a pending summary judgment motion. The current DOL has requested that the judge halts his proceedings while the Fifth Circuit reviews everything. So far, he has declined, stating that the DOL will likely not succeed in its argument that he erred in issuing the injunction.
If the DOL drops their defense of this new regulation, groups of labor organizations are poised to take it over. The DOL has been representing the group’s interests to date; however, they have stated that is unlikely to continue moving forward.
Regarding this issue, the labor organizations released a statement: “With the recent presidential election, and particularly as more information becomes available regarding the incoming Administration’s plans, policy, and appointments, the Texas AFL-CIO (The American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations) has grave concerns as to whether its interests in the Final Rule will be represented by the DOL.”
The plaintiffs for the case argue that the labor organizations’ speculation about Trump’s administration’s views do not justify granting the motion. Urging the court to deny their request, they said: “AFL-CIO proffers no legal basis warranting intervention now, solely based on speculation or concerns about whether the party that is adequately representing its interests now might change its position at some point in the future.”
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