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A federal judge in Texas yesterday temporarily stopped the Department of Labor (DOL) from implementing and enforcing its new overtime rules.  Under the new rules, employers seeking to classify executive/managerial, administrative or professional employees as exempt from overtime pay requirements would need to pay them an annual salary of at least $47,476.  As a result of the injunction, the DOL is nationally prohibited from implementing and enforcing these new regulations, which were otherwise set to go into effect on December 1. This ruling and these regulations have no impact on any state overtime laws that may exist.

Take-away points:

The December 1 deadline to either adjust certain exempt employees’ salaries or reclassify as non-exempt those employees not meeting the new salary standard has been temporarily delayed.  This does not mean that these new regulations will never take effect.  The judge’s ruling is a temporary hold while he reviews the merits of the case brought against the federal government.  It could last weeks or months.  We do not know.  What we do know is that December 1 implementation will almost certainly not occur.

  • Executive/managerial, administrative and professional (EAP) employees currently classified as exempt who earn at least $23,660/year on a salaried basis will continue to be exempt from overtime pay requirements, assuming they meet the duties requirements for the relevant classification.
  • If you want to rescind the moves you have made to raise salaries or move currently exempt employees to non-exempt status, you can seemingly safely do so until the injunction is lifted, if that ever occurs.  Communicating this decision to affected employees in advance will be required.
  • Prognosticating: should this injunction continue into the next Presidential administration, it is foreseeable that the DOL might flip entirely on the desire to implement these regulations and refuse to contest the injunction or defend the lawsuit.  If that occurred it would effectively end the new rules.

Employers who have yet to implement changes to salaries and classifications are now left with the difficult decision of whether to continue with implementing the changes or waiting to see what occurs.  Employers who have already implemented changes have an even more difficult decision, given that they now have the option of unwinding the changes they have made, at least for the time being.  You are invited to contact your Thompson Coe labor and employment attorney to discuss this matter more fully.

Thompson Coe’s will be hosting a webinar Everything You Need To Know About – Wage & Hour Laws on December 15th at 12:00pm Central Time to discuss these regulations, the injunction and strategies for addressing this developing situation.

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