A federal judge has issued a preliminary nationwide injunction to block an increase in the minimum salary threshold for paid overtime in the US.
On Tuesday 22 November 2016, US district judge Amos Mazzant granted an emergency motion for a preliminary injunction, which prevented the implementation of outgoing US president Barack Obama’s new overtime rule from coming into effect as scheduled on 1 December 2016.
Under the new rule, the minimum salary threshold for paid overtime would increase from $455 a week (£360) to $921 a week (£729), or $23,660 a year (£18,761) to $47,892 a year (£37,977). This would mean that any employee who earns less than this amount would be entitled to be paid one and a half times their regular rate of pay for all hours worked over 40 hours a week.
The minimum salary threshold would be updated automatically every three years. The first expected increase was scheduled to take place on 1 January 2020.
The state of Nevada and 21 other US states filed a motion for the injunction in the case of State of Nevada et al. v United States Department of Labor.
The US judge agreed that the Department of Labor had exceeded its authority by changing eligibility for overtime based on salary level rather than job duties, and granted the motion to the plaintiffs.
The US Department of Justice filed a notice to appeal the preliminary injunction on behalf of the Department of Labor on 1 December.
A Department of Labor spokesperson said: “The Department strongly disagrees with the decision by the court, which has the effect of delaying a fair day’s pay for a long day’s work for millions of hardworking Americans. The Department’s Overtime Final Rule is the result of a comprehensive, inclusive rule-making process, and we remain confident in the legality of all aspects of the rule.”