Stalled overtime law still having impact

Posted at 4:17 PM, Dec 28, 2016

In November a judge halted a new rule that would have made millions of Americans eligible for overtime pay beginning in December. But some businesses and their employees are still feeling its effects.

At 2WR+Partners, the small team of employees is more like a family. That's why when a judge delayed a new overtime law days before it was set to go into effect, partner Sam Andras said he couldn't just take back pay increases they'd already received.

"You definitely can't say sorry, can we get a refund?" Andras says, "Hey guys can we take back that raise?"

Andras' architectural firm gave the raises to accommodate the new law which would have made workers earning less than around $47,000 eligible for overtime pay. But meeting that threshold cost the firm.

"For our business it was about $75,000," Andras says. "In Georgia, that's a young architect and an intern. That's two positions."

Legally, Andras firm can reverse the changes, but he says the negative morale just wasn't worth it. It's a decision other businesses are making too.

Mark Cicotello with Mountain States Employers Council worked with companies in Arizona, Utah, Colorado and Wyoming ahead of the change.

He says with the judge's ruling and subsequent delay, most are staying the course.

"57 percent of our members actually went and implemented the change," Cicotello says. "Now of those 57 percent that implemented, 78 percent said they are going to go ahead and keep the changes that they had already made."

Big name companies like Kroger, Walmart and Wendy's are sticking with the changes they made as well.

While employee salaries have changed, Andras says the firms income hasn't, and they don't plan on asking customers to pay more. Still, he believes some things matter more than the money.

"We have employees who are 100% committed to us and we give that same commitment back to them." 

The Labor Department has appealed the judge's order to halt the overtime law. Right now, it's not clear if the department will move forward with the case after President-elect Donald Trump takes office.