EPI hits Trump rollback of new DOL overtime pay rule

WASHINGTON—To no one’s great surprise, the GOP Trump administration Labor Department wants to get public comments – read “business opposition” – to a rule that would open millions of more workers to eligibility for overtime pay. The labor-backed Economic Policy Institute retorts that DOL is all wet and its demand is “wasteful” of time and effort.

In a July 27 Federal Register notice, DOL formally put out a “request for information” from “stakeholders” on whether to raise the cap that determines which workers are eligible for overtime pay. The cap has been just over $22,000 since 2005.

The Democratic Obama administration raised it to $47,476. Businesses sued against it in federal court in rural Texas last November, and got a nationwide injunction against the higher cap. In the meantime, Trump was inaugurated and told DOL to yank the Obama rule. He also dropped DOL’s defense of its own rule in court. Trump’s Labor Secretary, Andrew Acosta, suggested the cap should be around $32,000. DOL’s notice contains no figure at all.

And it even floats the possibility that overtime eligibility should be determined solely by what duties a worker has, rather than how much the worker earns.

Besides being wasteful, DOL’s query  really is “an effort to weaken or kill the badly-needed update to the overtime pay rule,” said EPI’s chief employment analyst, Heidi Shierholz. The AFL-CIO has also protested the Trump Labor Department’s action.

“The Trump administration is trying to take away the ability of millions of hard-working Americans to get overtime pay or more time with their families. The Labor Department does not need more information about overtime pay — they need to support middle-class workers who badly need a raise,” Shierholz said.

Trump “sides with the CEOs and top executives who want to keep pay low and force workers to work unpaid overtime. An updated overtime rule is exactly what we need for workers to get a fair return on their hard work. It’s time to fully implement and enforce the updated overtime rule,” she concluded.

Source: PAI