Kansas has joined 20 other states in challenging new federal rules on who has to be paid overtime when they go over 40 hours in a work week.
The states’ lawsuit alleges that the Department of Labor exceeded its authority in ordering a change that about doubles the wage threshold at which a worker can be deemed “exempt” from overtime pay.
If the rule stands, employers, including the state government, will have to pay overtime to all workers who make less than $47,476 a year.
Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt said the change will affect about 40,000 Kansas workers, including 550 employees working for state courts and administrative departments.
“In this case, the unauthorized federal mandate affects not only private businesses but state taxpayers, who will bear the added cost imposed on state government,” Schmidt said in a statement announcing Kansas’ participation in the lawsuit. “Our legal objection is that any power to impose this mandate on states rests with Congress, which has not delegated that power to the bureaucrats at the U.S. Department of Labor.”
The Obama administration has characterized the change as an update authorized by Congress under the Fair Labor Standards Act, designed to prevent employers from declaring low-level workers as professional or management employees so they don’t have to be paid for extra work.
“This long-awaited update will result in a meaningful boost to many workers’ wallets, and will go a long way toward realizing President Obama’s commitment to ensuring every worker is compensated fairly for their hard work,” the Labor Department said in a statement.