States opposing the increased overtime exemption threshold are highlighted in yellow. Alaska and Hawaii did not join the lawsuit.

At the direction of their governors, the attorneys general of the states highlighted in yellow, plus the US Chamber of Commerce, are attempting to block a US Department of Labor rule that will raise the threshold for not paying overtime from a weekly salary of $455 a week to $913. The rule, which had been anticipated since early 2014 and announced May 18, goes into effect on December 1. The previous threshold had been set in 2004.

Although the final rule is weaker than the initial proposed rule, these states contend that DOL didn’t have authority to update the rule and that the new levels would be a burden.49

Note that $455/week is an annual salary of just $23,600, or $11.38/hour. Many front-line supervisors, however, work 50 hours a week, effectively being paid $9.13/hour. This is far less than the minimum wage in many cities – Chicago’s is $10.50/hour.

DOL Secretary responded to the suit with this statement:

“We are confident in the legality of all aspects of our final overtime rule. It is the result of a comprehensive, inclusive rule-making process. Despite the sound legal and policy footing on which the rule is constructed, the same interests that have stood in the way of middle-class Americans getting paid when they work extra are continuing their obstructionist tactics. Partisan lawsuits filed today by 21 states and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce seek to prevent the Obama administration from making sure a long day’s work is rewarded with fair pay. The overtime rule is designed to restore the intent of the Fair Labor Standards Act, the crown jewel of worker protections in the United States. The crown jewel has lost its luster over the years: in 1975, 62 percent of full time salaried workers had overtime protections based on their pay; today, just 7 percent have those protections – meaning that too few people are getting the overtime that the Fair Labor Standards Act intended. I look forward to vigorously defending our efforts to give more hardworking people a meaningful chance to get by.”