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. 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.
The agency also violated federal law by indexing the salary threshold to the 40th percentile of income, with automatic increases every three years, the lawsuits claim. If implemented, this rule will likely force the State of Arkansas, local cities and counties and countless small businesses, to substantially increase their employment costs.
A lead plaintiff in the lawsuit is Nevada Attorney General Adam Laxalt, a Republican and frequent critic of President Barack Obama's policies.
The Kansas Attorney General is fighting what he considers regulatory overreach by the Federal Department of Labor.
Gov. Bevin has added Kentucky to a multi-state lawsuit against the federal government over a new rule that makes more people eligible to receive overtime pay.
U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez, who accompanied Biden to Columbus when the rule was announced, said Tuesday he was confident in the legality of the rule, describing the lawsuits as partisan, obstructionist tactics. Employers have these options: increase employee's salaries to the new salary threshold of $913 a week, pay workers overtime or limit their hours to 40 hours per week.
Under current Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) rules, "employees who are paid less than $23,600 per year ($455 per week) are nonexempt" and qualify for paid overtime.
The suit seeks to have the new rules declared unconstitutional and an injunction to prevent them from being enforced.
The crux of the new regulation, set to take effect nationwide December 1, is to raise the ceiling for American workers to get overtime pay.
The suit says the rules defy congressional intent and common sense, disregarding the type of work performed and making salary the determinant factor. The outcome of this rule could very well have the opposite effect, as business owners scramble to reduce pay and overtime hours.