*This piece was originally posted on Medium.
On Nov. 22, a Texas federal blocked the U.S. Department of Labor from implementing its revised regulations governing overtime pay. The updated rules were set to go into effect on Dec. 1 and would have helped millions of people either get paid for their extra work or earn more of their time back.
The Obama administration sought to significantly raise the maximum wage at which workers would still be eligible to receive overtime pay. The update was long overdue, as the original overtime rules had eroded due to inflation and corporations’ increasing attempts to misclassify workers to exempt them from overtime protection. The rule would have directly impacted at least 4.2 million working people, many of whom work in jobs that once would have had overtime protection but no longer do, for the reasons stated above.
The judge’s decision also calls into question more than seven decades of Department of Labor regulations, which have consistently stated that “working people who receive a weekly salary below a certain threshold are not considered executive, administrative, or professional employees, no matter how a corporation classifies them.”
The Obama administration does have the option of filing an emergency appeal of the decision in its short time remaining in office, but that court may not be very open to the administration’s arguments.