New overtime rule would make more people eligible

The Department of Labor has proposed a rule that would make a large number of people in the Houston area and across Texas available for overtime pay. The rule is still subject to a comment period of 60 days, but it would change the salary cap for non-management overtime eligibility nationwide beginning in 2020. The salary cap would be raised to $35,308 from $23,660. On a weekly basis, the cap would be raised to $679 from $455.

The last time the overtime salary cap was raised was in 2004, under the administration of George W. Bush. Former President Obama attempted to raise the cap even further than the new proposed rule would, to $47,476, but that effort was judicially blocked just before it was set to take effect. The DOL came to the proposed threshold by the same formula that was used for the 2004 overtime rule. It is based on the 20th percentile of full-time payments in the South, which is the region of the country with the lowest income overall.

The decision of where to set the salary cap for overtime was impacted, according to the DOL, by public input following a Request for Information it filed in 2017. More than 200,000 comments were submitted. The Obama-era proposed rule would have included automatic increases over time; the current proposed rule does not. Employees who are impacted by the changing rules may have to ensure that their employers follow them.

Employees in Texas have rights that their employers are required to respect. In cases where wage and hour laws have been violated, workers may be entitled to back pay and other damages. A lawyer with experience in employment law may help by examining the facts of the case and interviewing witnesses to develop a case for trial. A lawyer might be able to negotiate settlement out of court or argue on the client's behalf during legal proceedings.

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