On November 22, a federal judge in Texas granted a preliminary injunction blocking the December 1, 2016 implementation of the Department of Labor’s new overtime rules. These rules, as discussed in previous PayDay newsletters, would increase the minimum salary for exempt employees from $455 to $913 per week.
The injunction was the result of a complaint filed on September 19 by a coalition of 21 states, later joined by business organizations led by the US Chamber of Commerce. The complaint claims that the Department of Labor overstepped its authority in the drafting of the final overtime rule changes, specifically in regard to the increased exempt salary limits and automatic increases going forward. Upon initial review, the court determined the complaint had merit, citing evidence that the new rules were in violation of Congress’s original intent – which was to use an employee’s “actual duties,” rather than salary, to determine exemption from overtime pay. The court granted the states’ motion for a nationwide, temporary injunction. In the meantime, the court will continue to review the case until a final determination can be made.
At this point, it is unknown whether the rules originally set to go into effect on December 1 will be implemented at a later date, will be implemented in part, or will be determined unlawful.
For employers who have already increased employee wages based on the proposed exempt limit, it is recommended by organizations such as SHRM that these changes be kept in place. Taking back raises, unless the expense jeopardizes a business’s viability, may have more negative impact than spending extra money on salaries. Employers who have already paid employees at a higher rate cannot take this money back. If deciding to reduce wages going forward, employers should pay attention to state laws that require advance notice of wage reduction. (Indiana does not have such a law.)
Employers who have not yet implemented changes to comply with the new overtime laws would be wise to postpone these decisions until the final ruling is made.
As of today, the future of the DOL’s new overtime rules is still unknown. While employers can now legally postpone any sweeping internal changes, they should not assume that the overtime rules have been permanently barred. Employers would be wise to have a plan in place if and when it becomes necessary.
AccuPay’s HR Support Center has added the video, “What the Overtime Injunction Means for You”
which we are making available to you here. Our HR experts are also available to help you strategize for handling overtime or any other HR issues. For more information about the HR Support Center or HR consulting through AccuPay HR, call Betsy or Laura at 317-885-7600.
PayDay is an email communication of payroll news, legal updates and tax considerations intended to inform clients and colleagues of AccuPay about current payroll issues and planning techniques. You should consult with your CPA or tax advisor before implementing any ideas, comments or planning techniques.