Earlier this month, a federal judge in Texas issued a final order striking down the Department of Labor’s overtime rules that would have extended overtime pay to over four million additional workers. These rules, which were revised under the Obama administration, would have set the minimum salary level required for an employee to be classified as an exempt "white collar" executive, administrative or professional employee under the Fair Labor Standards Act at $47,476. The rules were set to take effect Dec. 1, 2016, but instead were blocked by this same judge in a previous preliminary injunction.
In this new decision, the judge again held that the DOL exceeded its authority in enacting the rules by improperly looking at workers’ salaries, instead of job descriptions, when determining if a worker is eligible for overtime pay. It seems unlikely that the DOL will appeal this final decision from the court, as the DOL has now dropped its appeal of the first order.
Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta stated at his confirmation hearing that he considered a salary level of “somewhere around $33,000” to be an appropriate adjustment, but any changes will be subject to another rulemaking process unless the Texas court’s decision is appealed and reversed. For now, the salary threshold for the exemptions remains at $23,660 based on the $455 weekly minimum.