Mandatory Overtime Pay

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Bonnie Hein

On November 22, 2016, U.S. District Judge Amos Mazzant III issued a preliminary injunction denying the U.S. Department of Labor's new regulation to extend mandatory overtime pay. Under the  regulation, workers who earn less than $47,476 per year and work more than 40 hours per week would have received mandatory overtime pay beginning December 1, 2016.

The Department of Labor's new guidelines applied to an estimated 4.2 million workers and would have doubled the maximum salary workers were allowed to earn and still be eligible for overtime pay, previously updated in 2004.

In anticipation of the December 1st deadline, many businesses have already increased salaries for employees who fall into this category in order to avoid paying the mandatory overtime. Alternatively, others planned to limit employees' weekly hours.

On December 1, 2016, the Department of Labor filed a notice of appeal with the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas.

How it all began

On March 13, 2014, President Obama issued a memorandum directing the Secretary of Labor to "modernize and streamline the existing overtime regulations for executive, administrative, and professional employees." This memorandum appears in the Federal Register at 79 Fed. Reg. 18737.

The memorandum cited The Fair Labor Standards Act, which appears at 29 U.S.C. 201, and stated that "regulations regarding exemptions from the Act's overtime requirement, particularly for executive, administrative, and professional employees (often referred to as "white collar" exemptions) have not kept up with our modern economy. Because these regulations are outdated, millions of Americans lack the protections of overtime and even the right to the minimum wage. Therefore, I hereby direct you to propose revisions to modernize and streamline the existing overtime regulations."

On May 23, 2016, the Department of Labor's final rule updating the overtime regulations was announced, affecting 29 CFR Part 541. View the full text from the final rule here.

Find more information in HeinOnline

Let's take a look at the March 13th memorandum in HeinOnline, which was published in the Federal Register.  Enter 79 Fed. Reg. 18737 under the citation tab in the stationary search bar and click the magnifying glass icon to view:

For more information on The Fair Labor Standards Act, check out the U.S. Federal Legislative History Library. Click on the Sources of Compiled Legislative Histories Database subcollection to access this database based on Sources of Compiled Legislative Histories: A Bibliography of Government Documents, Periodical Articles, and Books by Nancy P. Johnson. Enter the phrase "Fair Labor Standards" under Popular Name of Public Law using the drop-drown menu.

Results include the original Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 and Amendments. Click result #7 to view the entry for the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 in the Sources of Compiled Legislative Histories Database:

Entries provide a list of available material pertaining to the public law, including the official public law, compiled legislative histories, books, and law review articles.  Material available in HeinOnline is hyperlinked.

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