Federal judge rules against controversial overtime provision law

A US labour law that would have extended overtime pay to millions of workers, including postdoc researchers, has been delayed after a federal court judge ruled against it earlier this week.

Announced in May 2016, the government ruling is an update of the Fair Labour Standards Act, which outlines overtime provisions and minimum wage for US workers. The change, scheduled to take effect on 1 December, will force employers to pay staff overtime if they are on less than $47,476 (£38,084) a year and work more than 40 hours a week. The previous overtime pay ceiling was set at $23,660.

The overhaul will affect workers across all sectors, including those in postdoctoral research whose pay falls below the overtime limit. But the pay increase could have a significant impact on universities, with some commentators questioning how they will make up the difference. Academic institutions would either be forced to increase a postdoc’s basic salary or closely monitor their working hours.

But a US district judge, Amos Mazzant, has ruled in favour of 21 states, which petitioned that the overtime change is unlawful, and placed a preliminary injunction on the law. Mazzant has recommended that a nationwide injunction is now sought.