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Another round of overtime rule public comments in the offing

Another round of overtime rule public comments in the offing

The U.S. Department of Labor is once again soliciting comments on a proposed overtime rule, although under the Obama administration it had already received more than 270,000 such comments.

In a brief statement Tuesday, the DOL said it has sent a Request for Information related to the overtime rule to the Office of Management and Budget for its review. It said once this is published, the Request for Information will offer the opportunity for the public to comment.

The controversial overtime rule proposed by the Department of Labor during the Obama administration would have raised the threshold for overtime-exempt employees to $913 a week, or $47,476 annually for a full-time employee, from the current $455 a week, or $23,660 annually. 

The rule has been the subject of a significant amount of litigation. On Nov. 22, Judge Amos L Mazzant III of the U.S. District Court in Sherman, Texas, issued a preliminary injunction halting the overtime rule’s planned Dec. 1 implantation in response to litigation filed by states and business organizations.

The Labor Department then appealed the ruling to the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans, which, in the latest development in the case, had given the Trump administration until Friday to file its brief in the case.

Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta has said he would be amenable to changing the federal overtime rule, but not to the extent proposed by the Obama Administration.

The DOL has said it has received more than 270,000 comments in response to the proposed rule.

“Perhaps the new Secretary of the Department of Labor Acosta wants to restart the process” and so wants to give stakeholders the opportunity “to weigh in one more time so he has fresh data to make a decision,” said Jonathan A. Segal, a partner with Duane Morris L.L.P. in Philadelphia.

He added, “It would surprise me if the administration didn’t withdraw the appeal” to the 5th Circuit.

Eric B. Meyer, a partner with Dilworth Paxson L.L.P. in Philadelphia, also pointed to a Jan. 20, 2017, memo from President Trump’s chief of staff, Reince Priebus, that said executive departments and agencies should consider delaying rules that have not yet become effective.

“I think the DOL’s following marching orders,” he said.

Separately, the Labor Department is reinstating opinion letters, which the Obama administration had discontinued in 2010.


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