Should more workers earn overtime pay?

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Nearly three months into 2014 and we’ve learned so many things: We’re not too far off from a “Back to the Future” shoe, Justin Bieber doesn’t like being asked about Selena Gomez, naked bongo-playing Matthew McConaughey has an Oscar and could end up with an Emmy. What a roller coaster we’ve been on so far.

So who would’ve thought that one of the hottest topics of the year would end up being salary?

Just today President Obama announced he intends to expand who qualifies for overtime pay. From The New York Times:

On Thursday, the president will direct the Labor Department to revamp its regulations to require overtime pay for several million additional fast-food managers, loan officers, computer technicians and others whom many businesses currently classify as “executive or professional” employees to avoid paying them overtime, according to White House officials briefed on the announcement.

Though it’s far from a done deal:

The proposed new regulations would increase the number of people who qualify for overtime and continue Mr. Obama’s fight against what he says is a crisis of economic inequality in the country. Changes to the regulations will be subject to public comment before final approval by the Labor Department, and it is possible that strong opposition could cause Mr. Obama to scale back his proposal.

Whom would it affect?

Mr. Bernstein, now a senior fellow at the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, a liberal research group, and Mr. Eisenbrey wrote a paper last year urging the administration to raise the salary threshold for overtime to $984 a week. Their study estimated that in any given week, five million workers earning more than the current threshold of $455 a week and less than $1,000 a week are likely to be exempted from overtime. President Bush raised the threshold to $455 in 2004.

All this money comes just a few weeks after you couldn’t escape talking heads, politicians, and analysts on every news outlet discussing  Obama’s proposal to raise the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10. As you probably expected, political opponents butted heads and the issue is far from over. A recent poll also shows people are divided on the issue as well.

With nine months left in the year and midterm elections coming up, expect to to hear a lot more about salary. Whatever the outcome and your view, the issue could affect you and your organization. Plus, your angry uncle who likes to get the family into arguments will most likely bring it up at  gatherings all year, so expect to hear a lot more about it.

Let us know what you think in the comments below.

2 Comments
  1. I can see the pros and cons. Traditionally, I have been a salaried worker which, of course, does not include any overtime pay. At times when I have had to work 70+ hours I have wished that I would be compensated for my work. But there is definitely a cost to the company. For really large companies that may be able to afford to pay overtime for certain individuals, that might be great. But for smaller companies it might be really hard for them to come up with the additional out of pocket to pay workers in addition to their regular compensation and benefits.

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