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U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez

A federal judge last week blocked an effort by the U.S. Department of Labor to expand the number of American workers eligible for time-and-a-half overtime pay under the 1938 Fair Labor Standards Act, preventing millions of workers from receiving additional income when working more than 40 hours per week. The proposed rule would have applied to any worker earning less than $47,476 a year. The labor department estimated that more than 4 million additional American workers would have received overtime protections during the first year of the new rule's implementation, which was set to begin Thursday. In a statement posted to its website, the labor department said it "strongly disagrees with the decision by the court, which has the effect of delaying a fair day’s pay for a long day’s work for millions of hardworking Americans." President Obama had initiated the process of expanding overtime pay in 2014, hoping to modernize the Fair Labor law, the New Deal legislation that outlawed child labor, guaranteed a minimum wage and created the 40-hour workweek. The new rule was challenged in court by a consortium of states, trade groups and lobbyists, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Automobile Dealers Association, the National Association of Manufacturers, the National Retail Federation, the American Bankers Association and more. "We are currently considering all of our legal options," the labor department said in a statement.