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Feds dropping appeal of overtime law

The U.S. Department of Justice on Tuesday said it plans to end an appeal related to updated overtime laws, likely paving the way for a fresh approach to those laws by the Trump administration.

In an expected move, department officials asked a federal appeals court to dismiss Justice’s appeal in the ongoing battle over the stalled Obama-era overtime rule, Bloomberg BNA reported.

The overtime change, introduced in spring 2016, was expected to make some 4 million workers newly eligible for overtime pay, but it also was opposed by many in business, including the service industries and nonprofit sector.

Among other changes, the Obama administration had sought to double the salary threshold, from $23,660 annually ($455 a week) to $47,476 annually ($913 a week), under which employees working more than 40 hours a week would have to be paid overtime.

While many in business agree that the $23,660 threshold is too low, there was strong opposition to its sudden doubling.

The announcement of the appeal being dropped is expected to lead to a smaller, incremental increase in the threshold, experts have said.

This past Thursday, a Texas District Court judge, Amos Mazzant, struck down the overtime rules proposed last year, saying the government had overstepped its authority.

Now, the Justice Department is asking the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit to dismiss the DOJ’s pending appeal of a ruling last November that had temporarily blocked implementation of the overtime changes just before their scheduled Dec. 1 start date.

York attorney Anne Zerbe on Wednesday predicted that the Justice Department will “go back to the drawing board with a new, smaller increase that also accounts more for job duties” being important in determining who is exempt and non-exempt.

David O'Connor
Dave O'Connor covers York County, manufacturing, higher education, nonprofits, and workforce development. Have a tip or question for him? Email him at [email protected].

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