November 23, 2016

Federal judge blocks new OT protection rule

Flickr Creative Commons | Mark Hillary
Flickr Creative Commons | Mark Hillary

A federal judge has delayed implementation of a U.S. Department of Labor rule to expand overtime protections to millions of workers.

U.S.District Judge Amos Mazzant of the Eastern District of Texas decided Tuesday that a rule put forward under the Obama administration to extend mandatory overtime pay to more than 4 million workers is unlawful. In doing so, Mazzant granted 21 states and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce a nationwide temporary injunction, according to published reports.

Set to take effect Dec. 1, the rule would have doubled to $47,500 the maximum salary a worker can earn while being eligible for mandatory overtime pay. Connecticut was not part of the lawsuit but would be affected by the change.

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, a Democrat, expressed disappointment over the action, saying any delay in expanding overtime protections is misguided. If implemented, Malloy said, the overtime rule would boost wages for workers by $12 billion over the next decade.

The new rule, Malloy argues, "would strengthen and grow the working class while also boosting our economy. It is a bedrock principle of our nation that workers and their families deserve a fair wage for their hard work."

Business groups in Connecticut and across the country were largely opposed to the new overtime rule, arguing it would be too costly for employers.

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