Trump’s Labor Department eyes remake of Obama’s stalled overtime rules

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Under the Obama administration, the U.S. Department of Labor intended to extend mandatory overtime rights to 4 million to 5 million more workers than were eligible under the old rules.

The expansion would have made workers earning up to $47,476 a year eligible for mandatory overtime pay when they worked more than a 40-hour work week. The 2004 threshold was $23,660.

The new overtime threshold was supposed to go into effect in December, but a collection of business groups filed a lawsuit. A judge issued a temporary injunction to block implementation.

Now, under the Trump administration, the Labor Department has signaled it intends to start anew on the salary test part of the overtime regulations rather than defend the higher wage threshold in court.

Worker-oriented groups such as the Economic Policy Institute are trying to marshal public comment — an exercise that some deem unfair because about 300,000 public comments were sent in response to the Obama-era rule-making efforts. Why go through that again?

Many businesses undertook compensation adjustments to prepare for the December rules before they were blocked, so the cost impact of payroll changes — whether kept in place or held in suspension — shouldn’t be discounted.

Read more: Kansas City Star