Statement | Overtime

News from EPI Chamber’s and states’ opposition to updated overtime pay rules have no legal basis

Today, the Chamber of Commerce and several states, including Texas, filed two different suits attempting to gut the Department of Labor’s updated  overtime pay rules, which will restore a guarantee of overtime pay to more than 12 million salaried employees. These suits, which seek to deprive millions of hard working Americans from getting a well-deserved raise, are without merit.

It is no surprise that the Chamber of Commerce wants to block overtime pay protections for America’s working families. After all, the Chamber opposes the minimum wage, it fought passage of the Family and Medical Leave Act, it tries to prevent passage of sick leave laws, it opposes every major health and safety standard, it works to make the air we breathe and the nation’s waters dirtier. And it does these things even though a majority of its members say they actually support a higher minimum wage and enactment of sick pay laws. The good news is that the Chamber’s opposition to the new overtime rules has no legal basis, and its lawsuit will fail. The bad news is that taxpayers will have to pay to defend against the Chamber’s lawsuit, and the already burdened courts will have to hear this meritless case.

Regarding the lawsuit from state governments, the Department of Labor fulfilled all of their obligations during the rulemaking proceeding—crossing every t and dotting every i. This suit is as without merit as the Chamber’s. The Supreme Court decided 30 years ago that state governments are covered by the Fair Labor Standards Act. The accusation that the president and the Department of Labor are exceeding their authority to update this rule is ridiculous. The final overtime pay rule update should be implemented as planned starting December 1, with the important indexing provision in place. It is the lack of indexing that caused overtime pay to be eroded in the first place.

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