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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, November 25, 2016 - Volume 44 Issue 48
Federal judge blocks Obama overtime rule: 4 million workers to lose extra pay
Section One
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Federal judge blocks Obama overtime rule: 4 million workers to lose extra pay

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

A federal judge has issued an injunction blocking implementation of new guidelines from the Obama administration that would have extended overtime pay to some 4 million US workers.

The new US Department of Labor rule required employers to pay time-and-a-half to employees who worked more than 40 hours in a given week and earned less than $47,476 a year.

Business groups charged that the new rule would be unduly expensive and would force them to lay off workers.

US District Judge Amos Mazzant III issued a preliminary injunction in the case on November 22, preventing the administration from going forward with the policy change. The administration exceeded its constitutional authority, he ruled, and could cause harm to state governments charged with spending money to enforce the new overtime rules.

'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 Labor Department said in a statement.

'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. We are currently considering all of our legal options.'

In any event, the new guideline was not likely to be kept in force by the incoming Trump administration, which has pledged to rescind all Obama-era executive orders and administrative guidelines.

'In any presidential transition, previous policies are subject to review,' NPR business reporter Yuki Noguchi explained.

'Trump has pledged to undo President Obama's executive orders, dismantle the Affordable Care Act, [and] reverse policies on clean air, immigration, and Dodd-Frank financial reform. This [month], the Congressional Budget Office said canceling the overtime rule would reduce employers' compliance costs and boost profits, a point advocates refute. This leaves businesses wondering how they should proceed on rules that might be unwound.'

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