Flake, Heller applaud judgment against Obama-era overtime rule

A federal judge’s decision to strike down an Obama administration overtime rule that would have given millions more U.S. workers mandatory overtime pay but in the process financially strained businesses drew praise from U.S. Sens. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) and Dean Heller (R-NV) on Thursday.

Under the rule, salaried workers making up to about $47,000 per year would have been automatically eligible for overtime pay. The rule, Flake and Heller argued, would have had a detrimental impact on employers in their states.

“(Thursday’s) decision marks a big win in the effort to secure relief for Arizona employers burdened by the Obama administration’s costly overtime rule,” Flake said. “The regulatory costs associated with this rule are simply unworkable for small business owners in Arizona and throughout the nation.”

In 2016, Flake cosponsored two bills — the Regulatory Relief for Small Business, Schools and Nonprofits Act and the Overtime Reform and Review Act — that would have delayed the rules implementation for six months and would have required the new income threshold to be phased in over a five-year period.

“The former Obama administration’s expansion of the federal overtime rule would have devastated Nevada’s business owners and job creators,” Heller said. “Since the rule was issued last year, I have been strongly concerned about its impact because it would fundamentally change how employers compensate their workers, reducing Nevadans’ work hours and benefits.”

Heller outlined the negative impacts of the overtime rule in a 2016 letter to former Labor Secretary Tom Perez. And he cosponsored the Protecting Workplace Advancement and Opportunity Act in the 114th Congress, which would have halted the rule and required studies on similar proposals in the future.

“I’m pleased to see that a federal judge acknowledged the regulation’s harmful consequences and ruled it invalid …,” Heller said, calling the ruling “a relief” for countless Nevada businesses and employers.