You will recall our article in the previous issue of The HR Advisor (November 23, 2016), where we advised that a Texas U.S. District Court Judge had issued a preliminary injunction temporarily blocking implementation of the Department of Labor’s overtime rule, which was slated to take effect December 1, 2016.
Since that newsletter, the DOL has appealed the District Court’s decision to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit in New Orleans, Louisiana. The Court of Appeals could issue a stay of the District Court’s decision, which would put the overtime amendments into effect until the appeal is heard. If no stay is issued – and unless an expedited hearing is ordered – it is unlikely any decision on the appeal would occur near-term. At this point, written legal briefs by the parties will not likely start until after the inauguration. Further complicating this matter is the question of what the new administration may or may not do with this issue once it takes office on January 20, 2017.
In view of this unclear outlook, what is an employer to do? The answers vary according to what actions have already been taken. Employers who were waiting until December 1 to implement their plans are in a good position to simply hold tight and act as if the overtime rule was never issued.
If, however, you were proactive and implemented your new policies prior to December 1 - or had your plan ready to implement on December 1 - one approach would be to “stay the course” and not attempt to unwind what was previously implemented. However, nothing prevents you from returning to the previous classifications, if you wish… except, possibly, some disgruntled employees, workplace disruptions and morale problems, especially if the overtime amendments are revived.
Whatever approach an employer elects to take, it is critical that you communicate clearly with all employees on this issue. At this point, the future of the DOL’s overtime amendments is unclear due to significant legal issues, and that may be the best advice to give your employees.
Creative Business Solutions specializes in ensuring each of our valued clients is in compliance with all laws and regulations applicable to their respective businesses. Please call us today and we will be pleased to assist you with any HR compliance issue you may be experiencing, including the DOL overtime rule.