A new federal rule significantly expanding overtime benefits would have taken effect Thursday, but a federal judge in Texas issued an injunction last week delaying it.
University of South Carolina workplace law expert Joe Seiner told South Carolina Radio Network that, with the mandate stalled, employers will not have to comply with it.
“Employers certainly can do it, you may not be required to do it, depending upon what the court ultimately rules,” he said. “And it looks like you can hold off doing it until there is some type of ruling.”
The overtime regulations would significantly increase the salary limit for employees to be exempt from the time-and-a-half requirements of overtime pay. The new requirement would have mandated that employers pay overtime to any worker making less than $47,476 a year (specifically, $913 per week). That is more than double the current $455 requirement.
South Carolina is among 21 states that are suing the U.S. Labor Department over the regulation, calling its sudden incease excessive for businesses and state or local government. They also argue that congressional approval was needed for such a dramatic shift in interpretation for what is considered a “white collar” job.
Seiner said, ultimately, the case may be one for the appellate or Supreme Court, and that the case likely will lead to additional litigation in other jurisdictions. “Absolutely, this is the exact type of issue that could go. I’m not sure what the court would do,” Seiner said. “The Supreme Court isn’t afraid to overturn regulations from agencies.”
Seiner said the decision puts the regulations into flux, making it difficult for many employers to know how to proceed.