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Answers For The Workplace E-Memo

Proposed Changes to Overtime Laws

According to an Associated Press story in late March (of 2003), the Bush administration has proposed changes to decades-old labor laws. If enacted, the new policies would mean over 500,000 white-collar workers would lose overtime pay, while more than a million low-income employees would begin to earn it.

The proposed changes would “revamp a section of the 1938 Fair Labor Standards Act that defines blue-collar and white-collar workers and determines who must be paid a time-and-a-half hourly rate for working more than 40 hours a week.” The laws have not been updated in 28 years. The current regulations are 31,000 words. The proposed replacement? 13,000 words.

According to the article, "business groups long have complained that the complicated rules require overtime pay for already well-compensated and highly skilled professionals." Tammy McCutchen, administrator of the Labor Department's wage and hour division, says "the jobs most affected by the changes would most likely be assistant managers of stores, restaurants and bars." They would get overtime pay despite their management status as long as they earned less a certain figure per year.

If passed, the changes will not take place until later this year or in early 2004. Employers will need to keep their eyes on this one.

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