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Obama’s overtime rule blocked by judge

by Andrea Widener
November 28, 2016 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 94, Issue 47

A federal judge has stalled an Obama Administration overtime rule that would mean significant raises or overtime pay for millions of employees, including chemistry postdocs, starting on Dec. 1. The rule, put forward in May, requires overtime pay for workers who work more than 40 hours a week if they make less than $47,476, up from the previous limit of $23,660 set 12 years ago. Universities had been hit hard by the change. Although employees who teach were exempt, postdocs in the sciences and other nonteaching staff were included. That means the institutions would either have to pay them more or track their overtime, which many do not currently do. Some critics argued that the rule might end up hurting postdocs by making universities push them further away from regular employment. Many already do not get healthcare and other benefits that regular employees receive. The judge, ruling in Texas on Nov. 22, issued a temporary injunction against the rule, saying the White House had exceeded its authority with such a large pay increase. Obama’s Department of Labor indicated that it will appeal, though there is little time left for the Administration to push it through.


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