The United States has recently been going through something of a battle about whether to extend overtime pay to a wider range of employees. The journey started when the United State Labor Department set a rule that doubled the salary threshold for employees who were eligible to receive overtime pay. This would mean that employees who make less than $47,476 per year would need to be paid time and a half if they worked more than 40 hours in a single week.
Leadership in Texas and 20 other states disagreed with this decision, and tried to prevent the change from happening. They argued that the new rule would be too expensive for businesses. Judge Amos Mazzant, a federal judge in Texas, has blocked the change. He has argued that the rule oversteps the federal government’s authority, and should be left to the states.
Will Overtime Laws Change After All?While the judge’s injunction represents a victory for supporters of the current overtime laws, the Department of Labor may still try to push through the change. If the Judge’s decision is appealed, a higher court will examine the case and determine if they believe that Jude Mazzant made the correct decision. This may not happen anytime soon, however, since the new administration will soon take office, and we will have a new labor secretary.
The rule is important for Texas and other states, since it would affect the wages of millions of workers who currently do not qualify for overtime. As always, there are multiple sides to the issue. Some are concerned about employees who are working longer hours without extra pay, while others are worried that the new rules could limit small businesses’ ability to hire new workers.
Only time will tell if the current Department of Labor will eventually get their way on overtime. In the meantime, we can will watch closely and hope that the eventual outcome turns out well for Texas employees and businesses.