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Overtime rules to remain unchanged per judge's ruling

On Dec. 1, the exempt overtime salary threshold was supposed to increase from $23,660 to $47,476. However, a judge on the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas put its implementation on hold. To comply with these rules, employers in New York and elsewhere in the country had the option of increasing worker salaries above the new limit. They also had the option of reclassifying exempt employees as nonexempt.

Companies that have made such changes in anticipation of the rule change don't have to rescind those changes. Employers are urged to maintain open lines of communication with their workers as the new rule gets sorted out. Companies have no legal obligation to comply with the new rule until a formal ruling is made on whether or not it will take effect.

As a practical matter, businesses may choose how to handle the rule freeze based on how many changes that they have already made. If they haven't yet implemented a new wage structure or reclassified employees, it may make sense to hold off on doing so. This may be especially helpful for those in the retail and similar industries with smaller profit margins. In such industries, higher labor costs may put them at a competitive disadvantage.

Individuals who are engaged in wage disputes with their employers may wish to consult with an attorney. An attorney may be able to review pay stubs or other records in an effort to show that an individual may have been denied overtime pay or other wages earned. If successful, a worker may be entitled to back pay and other damages at the end of a formal trial. It may also be possible to obtain back pay and other wages through a negotiated settlement outside of court.

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