An appeals court has granted the Department of Labor (DOL) a third extension in defending the FLSA regulations that among other things would have increased the minimum salary threshold below which employers must pay overtime from $455 per week ($23,660 annualized) to $913 ($47,476 annualized), effective December 1, 2016. Within two weeks of the effective date (November 22), a federal district court in Texas issued a nationwide preliminary injunction, effectively putting the increase on hold. While President Obama was still in office, DOL appealed the order. Shortly after President Trump’s inauguration, a 30-day extension was granted making the deadline for filing a brief March 2 . A second extension of 60 days was granted bringing the deadline to May 1 to give new DOL leadership time to review the issues. The third extension was granted, bringing the deadline to June 30, because Trump’s nominee for Secretary of Labor, Alex Acosta, had not yet been confirmed. Acosta was confirmed as the new Labor Secretary on April 27.
Of note is that during a confirmation hearing, Acosta indicated that if he is confirmed, he would first decide whether DOL would continue to appeal the district court order. If DOL does not continue to appeal the order, a group of union organizations has moved to take over. Acosta also indicated that DOL will review and possibly revise the FLSA regulations and stated that he believed the minimum salary figure should be around $33,000.
Bottom line, we could still see an increase in the minimum salary threshold but it’s more likely to be in the low to mid-thirties range – not $47,476. For now, we all need to sit tight while this continues to unfold.