Federal Judge Blocks President Obama’s Overtime Pay Expansion

Barack Obama, Pedro Pablo Kuczynski
Pablo Martinez Monsivais—AP President Obama speaks at a town hall with Young Leaders of the Americas Initiative in Lima, Peru, on Nov. 19, 2016.

Millions of workers were set to gain access to overtime pay

A federal district court judge in Texas blocked the Obama administration’s controversial rule to expand overtime pay.

The nationwide injunction affects millions of workers who would have been eligible for overtime starting Dec. 1 under the rule, which raised the salary limit for overtime pay from $23,000 annually to over $47,000.

Earlier this week, Judge Amos Mazzant, an Obama appointee, sided with states and business owners who had argued the rule would have placed a burden on their bottom lines; many businesses said the rule would have led to layoffs. Supporters of the rule, however, said it would significantly benefit low-wage workers.

The Department of Labor issued a statement saying the agency would fight the ruling.

“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 statement reads. “The department’s overtime rule is the result of a comprehensive, inclusive rule making process, and we remain confident in the legality of all aspects of the rule. We are currently considering all of our legal options.”

Regardless of the court’s decision, the future of the overtime rule would have been unknown. President-elect Donald Trump had promised to roll back regulations on businesses once elected. Though Trump had not directly addressed the overtime rule, it likely would have been a target.

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