Labor Secretary Nominee Acosta Moving Briskly Towards Confirmation – Suggests He Is Open To Increasing Overtime Salary Threshold

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Labor Secretary Nominee Acosta Moving Briskly Towards Confirmation – Suggests He Is Open To Increasing Overtime Salary Threshold

 By: Gregory Blueford

Last week, President Trump’s nominee for Labor Secretary, R. Alexander “Alex” Acosta, testified before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (“HELP”) Committee, which oversees his nomination. Acosta’s nomination comes after President Trump’s initial choice, Andrew Puzder, withdrew from his nomination following strong opposition from both Republicans and Democrats.

While most onlookers consider Acosta’s hearing fairly uneventful, with some suggesting many of his answers were evasive, there are some interesting takeaways from his answers. When asked about the Obama Administration’s proposed rule to raise the salary threshold of $23,660 for white collar workers to be exempt from overtime to $47,476, Acosta did not fully condemn the proposal as would be consistent with the Republican Party line. You can read more about the proposed changes to the federal overtime rule here.

Acosta instead suggested that a hike in the threshold is due to the extent that it can cover inflation changes from when the rule was first implemented over a decade ago. Acosta stated, “I think it’s unfortunate that rules that involve dollar values can go more than a decade without updating,” noting that a sudden large increase in rules with dollar-amount thresholds can disrupt businesses. Acosta stated that a straight inflation adjustment puts the figure at “$33,000, give or take.” However, Acosta would not be pinned down to such a figure and suggested he would be open to reviewing the rule.


On Thursday, the HELP Committee will vote to approve Acosta and send his vote to the Senate floor for final confirmation. Acosta is expected to receive full Republican support, with some Democrats also crossing the aisle for support. While Acosta did not provide much of a roadmap of his plans as Labor Secretary, his suggestion to raise the overtime threshold to at least match inflation is an interesting twist to his nomination. Most onlookers believed that the Obama Administration’s goal to raise the current figure was dead after the court stayed its enforcement and President Trump was inaugurated. However, it appears that Acosta is at least open to making a concession in this matter, which would affect many employers. The Saqui Law Group will keep you informed of any new developments with this overtime law and all important employment and labor law developments.


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