More Workers To Be Paid For Overtime

This week President Obama is asking the Labor Department to adjust its federal regulations so that millions of workers who were previously blocked from overtime will now qualify to be paid time-and-a-half for extra hours they work. This will not make Congress or the business lobby very happy, but The President has the authority to change this sort of thing via his executive power to revise the Fair Labor Standards Act, passed in 1938. The Times has more on this:

Under current federal regulations, workers who are deemed executive, administrative or professional employees can be denied overtime pay under a so-called white-collar exemption.

Under the new rules that Mr. Obama is seeking, fewer salaried employees could be blocked from receiving overtime, a move that would potentially shift billions of dollars’ worth of corporate income into the pockets of workers.

Currently, employers are prohibited from denying time-and-a-half overtime pay to any salaried worker who makes less than $455 per week. Mr. Obama’s directive would significantly increase that salary level.

In addition, Mr. Obama will try to change rules that allow employers to define which workers are exempt from receiving overtime based on the kind of work they perform. Under current rules, if an employer declares that an employee’s primary responsibility is executive, such as overseeing a cleanup crew, then that worker can be exempted from overtime.

In many cases state laws have higher caps for overtime exemption: California is $640/week and New York is $600, both thresholds are set to rise in 2016, to $800 and $675 respectively.

The $455 threshold hasn’t been changed since 2004, so inflation alone would warrant an adjustment.

Also this:

The profits of the companies in the Standard & Poor’s 500 have doubled since the recession ended in June 2009, but wages have stagnated for a vast majority of workers in the same period. Recently, workers’ wages fell close to an all-time low as a share of the economy.

In 2012, the share of the gross domestic income that went to workers fell to 42.6 percent, the lowest on record.

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10 Comments / Post A Comment

But this would kill jobs! Because obviously the economically rational strategy for a highly profitable firm which is forced, along with all its competitors, to pay slightly higher wages to some workers is to reduce hiring, rather than share a tiny of sliver of its record profits with them.

Meaghano (#529)

@stuffisthings There is a lot of OPTIMISM at work here. Fucking lefties. I guess the hope is that it’d be cheaper to hire more lower-paid workers and make sure no one works overtime than to bump someone’s salary up to they can’t qualify for OT.

wrappedupinbooks (#1,426)

ugh the commments. so many bootlickers

andnowlights (#2,902)

Hm. As someone who isn’t salaried, I kind of feel like people who ARE salaried take a lot of advantage of the fact that they don’t punch in and out and take off super early some afternoons- their lack of overtime pay is kind of offset by more flexibility at their job (in my experience, not across the board, obviously). On the other hand, if companies are required pay otherwise salaried employees overtime, it might “encourage” them to hire someone else to keep the overtime costs down. Not sure that would *actually* happen but it’s a thought.

wrappedupinbooks (#1,426)

@andnowlights I think this is supposed to address people who are salaried but really shouldn’t be. The level of flexibility that you’re talking about usually comes with a certain amount of clout/respect in the workplace, and I don’t think the people making under $455/$800 (the very lowest and very highest salary caps quoted in the article) a week are in that position.

MissMushkila (#1,044)

@andnowlights I think this varies a lot. I have been salaried and hourly at different kinds of organizations. There are a lot of places that have salaried workers doing what used to be multiple peoples’ jobs for one persons pay, and the folks working there are just stressed out and live at the office.

Granted, those people should (and probably will eventually) leave, but when the employment rate is rocky folks will put up with a lot.

Marge (#4,715)

Oh HELL YEAH. At my nonprofit office employees ‘volunteer’ to work events that are considered required as part of their job duties, we joke that we’re really only salary because they can’t afford to pay us overtime.

Olivia2.0 (#260)

@Marge Yeah, I’ll be very interested to see how this shakes out in the non-profit world – I feel like they are “exempt” from a lot of these things. But, I have no supervisory duties and am not an executive, yet am salaried. And routinely work over 40 hours a week as a required part of my job (events).

Marge (#4,715)

@Olivia2.0 Me toooo. Are we at the same nonprofit? 0_0 I’ve been forwarding the times link around to coworkers, and one of my coworkers who is definitely clocking in at 60 hours a week for a 32k a year coordinator level postition (32K IN NYC IS NOT DECENT) has her last day tomorrow and is now planning a ‘fuck you parade’ for the day.

Marge (#4,715)

@Marge

The thing is I don’t know if it’s just my nonprofit but the first person to raise this with their boss is going to get scrutiny for wanting more money out of the nonprofit.

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