Commentary

LePage Joins Complaint Challenging Obama’s New Overtime Rules

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Today, Governor Paul LePage joined a number of other states in filing a federal court complaint challenging the United States Department of Labor’s (DOL) new overtime rules. These new rules are slated to take effect on December 1.

In March of 2014, President Obama ordered the DOL to revise the overtime exemption rules to target “white collar” professionals. But under the resulting rule, the DOL has chosen to ignore the duties that employees actually perform by focusing instead on salary level, because according to DOL, the salary level “is the best single test of exempt status for white collar employees.”

This defies common sense which dictates that the best indication of white collar status would be an examination of duties performed.

This new rule will significantly impact public employers, private employers and workers everywhere, all without any Congressional oversite and with very limited public input.

According to LePage, “If implemented, this rule would more than double the minimum salary threshold for public and private workers without Congressional authorization. The rule will force many state and local governments to substantially increase their employment costs. Some may be forced to eliminate some services and even lay off employees.”

In addition to doubling the threshold for salaried employees from $23,660 ($455/week) to $47,486 ($913/week), this new rule will also continue to impact employers and employees around the country without public comment or Congressional oversite every three years due to an automatic indexing mechanism that will continue to move the goalpost, regardless of current economic conditions.

By using an executive order to establish these dramatic rule changes, President Obama successfully avoided Congress, yet again, to enact drastic and controversial changes during his last few months in office. Unfortunately, the result is a one-size-fits-all federal mandate that makes no sense in Maine. As previously reported on The Maine Wire, a salary of $47,000 goes much further in Maine than it would in New York City or Chicago, and employer’s ability to pay overtime to salaried employees differs as well.

According to LePage, “This rule, coupled with referendum questions to dramatically increase the minimum wage and impose a 10.13 percent income tax on successful Mainers, demonstrates the Democrats at the state and national level are doing everything they can to put people out of work.

Other states that have signed on to the complaint include: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas, Utah and Wisconsin.

About Krysta West

Krysta West is the Communications Director for The Maine Heritage Policy Center. Prior to her time with MHPC, Krysta served as a Legislative Assistant at the National Rifle Association. Krysta is a native of Arundel, Maine, and has served as an aide in the Maine Legislature.

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