Rewriting overtime rules

Sean Higgins reports for the Washington Examiner that the Trump administration is challenging Obama-era overtime regulations.

The Trump administration said in a Texas court filing that it would rewrite an Obama-era rulemaking that dramatically expanded the number of workers covered by federal overtime rules, the latest example of the administration rolling back rules put in place by the previous White House.

Under former President Barack Obama, the Labor Department last year doubled to $47,000 the minimum annual salary threshold a worker must make before he or she can be deemed a “managerial” worker and therefore exempt from federal law requiring that they are paid time and a half after working 40 hours in a week. Business groups sued to overturn the rule, which they said raised the rate far too much. A Texas court struck it down on procedural grounds late last year. The Obama administration swiftly appealed but was unable to resolve the issue before the new administration took over.

That put the legal defense of the rule in the hands of the Trump administration, raising the question of what it would do. During his Senate confirmation hearing in May, Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta said the overtime rule was due for an update but the Obama administration had raised the minimum too high.

That’s precisely what Justice Department lawyers argued in a court filing Friday. They defended the prior administration from charges that it violated the Administrative Procedures Act, which covers federal rulemakings, but also said the current administration would rethink the rule.

Mitch Kokai / Senior Political Analyst

Mitch Kokai is senior political analyst for the John Locke Foundation. He joined JLF in December 2005 as director of communications. That followed more than four years as chie...

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