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Overtime Rule: College labor in limbo

Judge Amos L. Mazzano issues injunction on higher ed regulation change
University Business, January 2017

A Texas judge’s eleventh-hour injunction against a controversial labor regulation change has left more than 4 million U.S. workers, including thousands in higher education, in limbo.

Scheduled to go into effect December 1, the so-called Overtime Rule would have made full-time employees earning less than $47,476 eligible for a pay raise or overtime pay.

In late November, days before the effective date, Judge Amos L. Mazzant issued an injunction, blocking the rule’s enforcement nationwide.

Now all eyes are on how the incoming Trump administration will respond to the situation.

Colleges and universities have had differing reactions to Judge Mazzant’s latest plot twist. At University of Nebraska-Lincoln, for example, Chancellor Ronnie Green sympathized with employees who had been expecting more pay, but said there was little choice but to hold off on implementating the rule.

“We had to follow the state on that federal guideline,” Green told the Lincoln Journal Star. “Most of the public universities around the country pulled back because of the tie to their state budgets, like ours."

But not all are ready—or able—to put on the brakes. The final rule change was announced in May, and a number of schools had already begun to prepare for its enactment.

The University of Kentucky and the University of Puget Sound plan to go ahead with the changes, even if it impacts their budgets.

Cindy Matern, associate vice president for human resources at Puget Sound said most of the rule changes had already been implemented before the injunction, and backing out would have been “an employee relations nightmare.”

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