La­bor chief calls for over­time thresh­old

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - BUSINESS & FARM -

WASH­ING­TON — The La­bor Depart­ment said Fri­day that it wants salary level to con­tinue to count in de­cid­ing who is el­i­gi­ble for over­time pay. But it’s hold­ing off set­ting the max­i­mum pay a worker can get and still qual­ify.

That’s ac­cord­ing to a brief filed by Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s ad­min­is­tra­tion in fed­eral court in New Or­leans in a case over whether Pres­i­dent Barack Obama’s ad­min­is­tra­tion had the right to dou­ble the thresh­old to around $47,000. A fed­eral court last year blocked the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion rule, and La­bor Sec­re­tary Alex Acosta has sug­gested the de­ci­sion may have called into ques­tion whether his agency could use a salary level at all.

He told a Se­nate panel this year that he’d con­sider rais­ing the max­i­mum salary level from nearly $24,000 to a bit more than $30,000 to keep up with in­fla­tion. The idea is that salaried work­ers mak­ing less than the thresh­old would be el­i­gi­ble for time-and-a-half pay when they work more than 40 hours a week. Obama’s salary level would have made 4 mil­lion more Amer­i­cans el­i­gi­ble for over­time pay.

In Fri­day’s brief, the La­bor Depart­ment did not en­dorse the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion’s salary max­i­mum and is seek­ing pub­lic in­for­ma­tion on a new thresh­old.

In­stead, the ad­min­is­tra­tion asked the court to “ad­dress only the thresh­old le­gal ques­tion of the depart­ment’s statu­tory au­thor­ity to set a salary level, without ad­dress­ing the spe­cific salary level set by the 2016 fi­nal rule.”

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