For many, last week gave way to family-focused festivities, but while many were paying special attention to Thanksgiving dinner the world continued to turn. Here are three things you may have missed during the holiday week:
1. Overtime rule stalled by Texas Judge
A Texas judge put the brakes on a proposed overtime rule that was to go into effect Dec. 1. U.S. District Judge Amos Mazzant of the Eastern District of Texas blocked the rule due to his belief that setting an automatic salary increase exceeds the authority of the Labor Department and ignores the intent of Congress. Should the rule go into effect, the threshold of eligibility for worker overtime pay will be doubled from $23,660 to $47,476.
"The department's role is to carry out Congress's intent," Mazzant wrote in his decision. "If Congress intended the salary requirement to supplant the duties test, then Congress, and not the department, should make that change."
While the rule remains in limbo, business owners aren’t waiting around to see what happens. The rule affects an estimated 4.2 million to 12.5 million workers in America, and employers have taken steps to either limit the worker hours, giving them raises to put them above the threshold or began paying overtime in advance.
The Congressional Budget Office estimates canceling the rule will generate $1.3 billion in private sector profits during 2017, due in part to lower payroll costs. Patrick Wright, a professor at the University of South Carolina that studies human resources, said in a statement that many businesses will choose to move forward with changes they have already set in motion in order to retain employee morale, but says President-elect Tump may opt for a smaller wage bomb than what is currently being proposed.
2. Strong RevPAR builds optimism
Revenue per available room is currently tracking at 6.6 percent for month-to-date growth, while quarter-to-date growth is tracking at 3.3 percent. The data plays out as good news for an industry surrounded in uncertainty because it includes rates from the week of the U.S. presidential election, a period often accompanied by slow business travel. The week of Nov. 13-19 was noted as particularly strong, and was attributed to Thanksgiving taking place two calendar days earlier than in 2015.
In addition, four full work weeks stand between Thanksgiving and Christmas, meaning RevPAR is expected to see a modest boost. Data from STR shows the industry’s RevPAR grew 5 percent during the week ending Nov. 12, and three markets saw a double-digit rise in average daily rate for the week: New Orleans (up 10.9 percent to $163.90), Nashville (up 10.6 percent to $145.87) and Chicago (up 10.4 percent to $168.40).
3. Airbnb trades New York lawsuits
Airbnb and the state of New York mutually agreed to settle a lawsuit between the two parties in lieu of the company refocusing its energy on a continued lawsuit against New York City. In October, a federal court in Manhattan ruled that the city will begin imposing fines of up to $7,500 on hosts advertising rentals on home-sharing platforms such as Airbnb for fewer than 30 days.
Brian Chesky, CEO of Airbnb, confirmed in a statement that the company continues to seek a compromise with the city that will lessen the impact of the ruling. Airbnb claims the new law is the result of pressure from hotel lobbyists who have concerns about a loss of pricing power in the wake of the home-sharing giant’s ascension throughout New York. Airbnb claims the ambiguous wording found in the law will create “significant civil penalties and criminal liability” because it may allow New York authorities to prosecute online platforms that host third-party listings.
“We have long sought to work with leaders in New York on clear, fair rules for home sharing,” an Airbnb spokesman said in a statement to the Wall Street Journal. “We’re continuing to do all we can to protect the thousands of middle-class families who depend on home sharing to earn a little extra money.”