In his 20-page ruling, Judge Mazzant wrote, "Due to the approaching effective date of the Final Rule, the Court's ability to render a meaningful decision on the merits is in jeopardy". Since time is short for the Obama administration, it may be up to Trump's Labor Secretary and Attorney General to decide whether to continue to pursue an appeal.
No one was available in the commissioner's office at department in either district, and the commissioner didn't answer her cellphone.
A federal judge on Tuesday blocked a new rule making millions more Americans eligible for overtime pay, indefinitely pushing back the December 1 effective date while he weighs a challenge to the requirement.
The rule would have made overtime pay available to full-time salaried employees earning up to $47,476 a year, more than doubling the current threshold of $23,660 a year.
Judge Mazzant said that in issuing the rule, the Labor Department "exceeds its delegated authority and ignores Congress's intent". A limited number of occupations are not eligible for overtime pay (including teachers, doctors, and lawyers) or are subject to special provisions.
The granting of a nationwide preliminary injunction of the new federal overtime rule, just days before its implementation, ensures that cash-strapped state and local governments will not be forced to lay off employees or cut vital services to the public in order to meet this costly federal mandate. Or Congress could change the country's labor laws.
Earlier this year, Obama announced a new rule that roughly doubled the cap for salaried workers.
"What the President-elect characterized as a "burden" is in fact the most basic workplace protection", Shields said.
"This Final Rule will transfer income from employers to employees in the form of higher earnings, whether in the form of overtime premium payments for newly overtime-eligible workers or raises for some workers to maintain their exempt status", the agency said. Tranum said the threshold increase is not only significant for businesses, but also nonprofits. The department is now considering its legal options, but Trump will be in charge of the department after taking office on January 20.
"We strongly disagree with the decision by the court, which has the effect of delaying a fair day's pay for a long day's work for millions of hardworking Americans", the Labor Department said. Some states and businesses anxious that the proposed threshold, which would have applied nationwide, did not take into account differences in cost of living in different areas.
The ruling giving businesses a reprieve "is a little late for a lot of people's taste", said Tom Gimbel of Chicago-based LaSalle Network, a recruiting and staffing firm that advised companies on how to prepare for the new rule. A study by the American Action Forum concludes that the wages of the 4.2 million affected workers are estimated to decline by 0.8 percent, while the number of working hours is expected to fall by 0.2 percent.