On November 22, a federal judge in Texas issued a nationwide preliminary injunction to stop the U.S. Department of Labor from implementing the new overtime rules that were set to go into effect on December 1. Under the new rules, almost everyone making less than $913 a week (or $47,476 a year) would have been eligible for overtime pay if they worked more than 40 hours in any work week. Currently, anyone making less than $455 a week (or $23,660 a year) is eligible for time and a half pay.
Several states and business organizations challenged the U.S. Department of Labor in court, contending that the scope of the new regulation was beyond the power of regulatory rule making. It is estimated that more than 4 million workers nationwide, including many church employees, would be impacted by the new minimum salary level included in the regulations, potentially creating an economic fallout as businesses laid off workers rather than paid overtime.
However, U.S. District Judge Amos Mazzant’s decision stops the implementation of these new regulations, at least for now. It is expected that the Department of Labor will seek an emergency appeal to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals – but the process has been delayed by the Thanksgiving holiday. If an appeal is not perfected, Judge Mazzant will ultimately determine the legality of the new regulations at a later date.
The temporary injunction throws into doubt how employers (and churches) should respond. If steps have already been taken to comply with the new regulations and such information has been conveyed to employees, some state laws may very well require that the employer follow through with the commitments made to the employees. If no final decision has been communicated to employees, then you should be prepared to move forward in compliance with the new regulations but you do not have to do so until the courts resolve this matter.
Most importantly, you should stay vigilant and pay close attention to how this matter is ultimately resolved. Further, you may want to seek advice and direction from a competent employment lawyer. The Benefits Board will try to keep you advised as there are new developments.
To review the preliminary injunction in this case, entitled State of Nevada, et al vs. Unites States Department of Labor, et al, you may go to http://www.wagehourblog.com/files/2016/11/Nevada-v-DOL-Order-Granting-Emergency-Injunction.pdf.