Millions of Americans were expecting a major salary change on December 1st. Back in May, President Obama signed legislation updating the Fair Labor Standards Act, which he said was thoroughly outdated.
At the signing, he said, “If you work more than 40 hours a week, you should get paid for it or get extra time off, to spend with your family and loved ones. It’s one of the most important steps we’re taking to help grow middle-class wages and put $12 billion more in the pockets of hardworking Americans over the next 10 years.”
The legislation would have expanded overtime pay for salaried workers, boosting the threshold from $23,660 to $47,476. Any salaried employee making less than that would have to be paid overtime.
However, the move was met with much criticism. Over 20 states and a coalition of business groups said the Federal Labor Department acted beyond its authority.
CT News Junkie reports that a federal judge in Texas sided with the law’s opponents and halted it from going into effect, citing it would create “essentially a de facto salary-only test.” You can read Texas District Judge Amos L. Mazzant III’s ruling HERE.
Connecticut lawmakers have been very outspoken about how they feel about the ruling.
Governor Dannel Malloy said, “It is deeply disappointing that any action would be taken to delay expanding overtime protections that would strengthen and grow the working class while also boosting our economy.”
Lori Pelletier, president of the Connecticut AFL-CIO, also wrote a scathing response for the last-minute ruling, “This federal court ruling has exponential costs to working families who for over 20 years were excluded from overtime protections. And with any hope of a Supreme Court sympathetic to understanding basic worker protections growing dimmer by the day, this ruling may set us back indefinitely.”
The Labor Department can appeal the ruling, but chances of the changes going into effect are slim considering President-elect Donald Trump is completely against expanding overtime pay, saying that it is a burdensome business regulation.
U.S. Chamber of Commerce Senior Vice President of Labor, Immigration, and Employee Benefits Randy Johnson, is one of those pleased by the court’s ruling, “If the overtime rule had taken effect, it would have resulted in significant new costs – more than $1 billion according to the Congressional Budget Office – and it would have caused many disruptions in how work gets done.”
Governor Malloy disagreed, “The steps taken by President Obama, Vice President Biden, and Secretary (Thomas) Perez to modernize overtime protections for the nation’s workers would extend overtime protections to 4.2 million more Americans […] There should be bipartisan support for these protections. Too often, the same voices claiming support for the working class are more than willing to use their power to block meaningful policy changes that help those very workers.”
What side of the fence are you on? Should more people be eligible for overtime since the 40 hour workweek is long gone or did our President overstep his boundaries and create a further divide in the population?