8 Million Could Lose OT Pay -- NOW AREN'T YOU GLAD YOU VOTED FOR GWB

  1. ...AND WILL YOU VOTE FOR HIM AGAIN??

    (From MSNBC)

    8 million could lose overtime pay

    New labor rules would cost workers money, study argues

    By Jon Bonné
    MSNBC

    June 26-Up to 8 million U.S. workers could lose their right to overtime pay if Bush administration rules are put in place, according to a new study released Thursday. The new proposed rules would dramatically change who qualifies as a salaried worker, and which hourly wage earners are able to collect overtime.

    THE REPORT, by the Economic Policy Institute, highlights dozens of professions that would be impacted by the new rules and argues that hundreds of thousands of workers could be moved from hourly wages to a fixed salary. It would also expand the types of work responsibilities that can be barred from overtime, and would cap a right to overtime for almost anyone earning more than $65,000 a year.
    The study's numbers sharply contrast Labor Department estimates that 1.3 million low-wage workers would qualify for overtime under the new rules, while 640,000 professional workers would lose their potential for overtime.
    Some 2.5 million salary earners and 5.5 million hourly employees would lose their overtime, according to the estimates by the group, which is affiliated with labor unions. Some of the most impacted job types would include: mid-level supervisors such as restaurant managers or safety inspectors; professionals such as dietitians, social workers and writers; and technical specialists, such as dental hygienists, drafters or computer programmers. The report's authors argue the new rules would lead to longer hours for most employees with minimal cost to companies.
    "That will have a big impact on their personal family budgets and also on their hours of work," said EPI vice president and policy director Ross Eisenbray. "It'll be more profit, but it won't end up in worker paychecks."
    The proposed regulatory changes, which amount to an overhaul of the federal Fair Labor Standards Act, were first released last March by the Labor Department. A public comment period ends Monday, though no public hearings were scheduled. They could be implemented as soon as this fall and the administration wants them in place by next year. If so, it would be the first major overhaul of the overtime rules in nearly 30 years.
    Among those changes would be to raise the baseline salary under which all employees qualify for overtime. Right now, standards still employ a figure from 1975: Anyone earning less than $155 per week automatically qualifies. The new rules would raise that to $425 per week, or about $22,000 a year.

    According to the study, the changes' real impact would be in how workers are defined:
    Some employees are currently exempt because they hold advanced degrees or did postgraduate study. But most white-collar workers with any education beyond high school would be placed in a category of "learned professional" and would likely be exempt-unable to earn overtime. Many "learned" professions would now allow on-the-job experience to replace academic training: chefs or practical nurses might be exempted from overtime because academic study is largely vocational in nature. The Labor Department argues that would simply give credit for "equivalent knowledge and skills" gained outside academic programs.
    Workers would no longer be required to exercise decision-making and judgment in order to be considered a professional, or to mostly do "production" work in order to gain overtime rights. Instead, an employee considered to be in a "position of responsibility" could be made exempt.
    Overtime exemptions for "executive" employees would be expanded to many lower-level supervisors who manage just a handful of employees, such as fire sergeants or retail sales supervisors. Even if employees who mostly perform routine, non-exempt tasks can still be made exempt. In one example the study cites, someone who stocks shelves could be considered an exempt employee if they also spend some time handling customer complaints.

    IMPACT ON PAYROLLS
    The Bush administration and business groups argue the changes are necessary to reflect a growing service sector in the economy, and to spur economic growth and hiring practices. Among the arguments is that by paying less overtime to more highly skilled workers, employers would have more money in their payroll to hire new employees and reduce the unemployment rolls.

    Many businesses also support the Labor Department's argument that the new rules will simplify how workers are segmented based on the type of work they do. Some business owners, for example, would like to see an end to the "production dichotomy"-the split between workers who "produce" and those who supervise. Those divisions, they argue, are representative of the labor act's 1939 origins in an industrial economy and don't reflect modern times.
    "That makes sense if you think of an assembly line. It doesn't make much sense if you think of a service economy," said Michael Eastman, director of labor law policy for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce . "How do you take regulations written in the 1940s and try to apply it to your webmaster?"
    Organized labor, meantime, has been on a vocal campaign against the new rules, arguing they would not only hurt workers but would actually discourage hiring. The AFL-CIO, for example, believes the new rules-by increasing the number of salaried workers-would allow employers to shift more work onto salaried employees, extending their work hours without any cost to the company.
    "Just because people may sit down all day instead of stand up doesn't mean they should be expected to work 80 hours a week without overtime pay," said AFL-CIO spokeswoman Kathy Roeder.

    ROLES BLURRING
    In fact, the original purpose of the FLSA rules were to guarantee certain worker rights, both in establishing a minimum wage and in preserving a 40-hour work week-discouraging companies from overworking employees by imposing, in essence, a financial penalty. But if anything, Americans' work week has kept lengthening, with U.S. workers now far outpacing their counterparts in the developed world.
    And by one view, the new economy dictates that companies place more responsibility on their workers. One sign of that is what Charles Tharp, professor of human resource management at Rutgers University, calls a "a very jobless recovery": firms increasing their productivity without growing payrolls at all. A single worker now has far more flexibility and personal responsibility-both of which can translate into longer hours, more work and some confusions about what a worker's role should be.
    "With more team-based organizational structures, with people managing themselves ... some of the old definitions around exempt and non-exempt have become rather blurry," said Tharp. "It's been a bit of a mess."
    Many companies agree the current rules have made for a bit of a morass, and while they see the new definitions as helping to clear up some vague definitions, though they would like to push the Labor Department for even more clarity, which is an issue for them in stemming labor lawsuits.
    Both sides, actually, are hoping for clarity through the rules, and both are glad to give workers credit for their skill sets. But the report's authors worry that the credit being given for workers' experience and increased autonomy will translate into a smaller paycheck.
    "They're trying to say that really there's not a difference anymore between a professional engineer and the person that engineer supervises," Eisenbrey said. "It's true they do have a lot of skill and that's a good thing. But it's not a reason to deny them pay when they work overtime."
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  2. 58 Comments

  3. by   Cynthiann
    I guess I won't try to become a RN and just become a LPN so I can get paid for overtime.

    But seriously, with the nursing shortage as bad as it already is, how insane it would be to make this law and enforce it. Do they realize that probably at least half of nurses (probably almost all nurses) would quit if they had to do overtime with no pay? Unless they make it required that anyone on salary cannot work over 40 hours or triple everyone currently salary, there is no way this will ever work.

    GWB will definitely lose millions of votes over this.
  4. by   live4today
    If "The Powers That Be" would pay American Laborers according to each state's cost of living requirement, overtime wouldn't have to be an issue up for discussion.

    I voted for both President Bush men and have no regrets compared to what the alternative would have been. Would I vote for him again? Depends on the alternative next time.
  5. by   Mkue
    It appears to be a study so I'm a little skeptical right now and it's from msnbc.
    New labor rules would cost workers money, study argues
  6. by   fab4fan
    Totally disgusted, but totally not surprised.

    I hope our nursing leadership takes this issue and runs with it; as if things aren't hard enough for nurses as it is
  7. by   Gomer
    Originally posted by mkue
    It appears to be a study so I'm a little skeptical right now and it's from msnbc.

    So, here's the same article from that "wonderful, fair and balanced and just right of Mein Kampf" Fox News....


    Union Group: More Than 8 Million Would Lose Overtime Under Labor Proposal

    Wednesday, June 25, 2003

    WASHINGTON-More than 8 million professionals would lose their overtime pay under a Bush administration proposal to change the types of jobs that must receive more money for extra work, says a new study by a union-supported think tank.


    The analysis being released Thursday by the Economic Policy Institute (search) is among the first to assess how many workers might be affected by the Labor Department's (search) revisions to the overtime rules, which were proposed in March.

    Businesses and labor unions agree that the current Fair Labor Standards Act (search) regulations are confusing and antiquated. But they disagree about how to update them.

    The Labor Department estimated that under its proposal, at least 644,000 well-paid, white-collar workers would lose overtime pay for working more than 40 hours a week, while 1.3 million lower-wage workers now exempt from overtime would become eligible, or must receive a raise.

    Overall, nearly 22 million workers could be affected, though specific jobs and their status could not be determined, officials said.

    But EPI says the Labor Department "woefully underestimates" the changes that would occur if the proposal is implemented.

    In 78 job classifications that EPI examined out of 257 white-collar occupations, an estimated 8 million workers would lose their right to overtime pay.

    Another 1.3 million people would lose overtime pay under the proposed salary test that exempts all nonmanual workers earning $65,000 or more, regardless of their duties.

    The new definitions of professional, administrative and executive employees remove specific duties and education requirements, giving employers wide latitude to reclassify their workers, the study says.

    Among the millions of jobs that will lose overtime, according to the study: emergency medical technicians, paralegals, licensed practical nurses, draftsmen, surveyors, reporters, editors, chefs, cooks, dental hygienists and health technicians.

    But Labor Department officials say the changes renew the focus on low-wage earners, which the law was intended to protect. Business groups long have complained that the convoluted rules require overtime pay for already well-compensated and highly skilled professionals while ignoring those at the bottom.

    Monday is the last day to submit comments on the proposal.
  8. by   Mkue
    The analysis being released Thursday by the Economic Policy Institute (search) is among the first to assess how many workers might be affected by the Labor Department's (search) revisions to the overtime rules
    Thank you Gomer.

    Looks like this is the first analysis to be released according to this article, I'll be watching for other assessments.
  9. by   ktwlpn
    Originally posted by Cynthiann
    I guess I won't try to become a RN and just become a LPN so I can get paid for overtime.

    But seriously, with the nursing shortage as bad as it already is, how insane it would be to make this law and enforce it. Do they realize that probably at least half of nurses (probably almost all nurses) would quit if they had to do overtime with no pay? Unless they make it required that anyone on salary cannot work over 40 hours or triple everyone currently salary, there is no way this will ever work.

    GWB will definitely lose millions of votes over this.
    "Workers would no longer be required to exercise decision-making and judgment in order to be considered a professional" I guess you would be SOL,Cynthiann-looks like LPN's will be considered "professional" :roll :roll :roll :roll ---Actually-LPN's are considered "professionals" in most settings IMHO
  10. by   Cynthiann
    "...and would cap a right to overtime for almost anyone earning more than $65,000 a year."

    Maybe I'm not out of luck (and most other nurses). I don't the majority of nurses make more than $65K without doing lots of overtime already.
  11. by   Hellllllo Nurse
    I will not work overtime for free. I will refuse. I hate Geoge W. w/ a PASSION.

    I still can't believe he was actually elected. Well, actually...he wasn't. Having him in The White House is a nightmare.

    Remember how good the economy was and what a budget surplus we had in the last admin?

    Those were the days.
    Last edit by Hellllllo Nurse on Jun 26, '03
  12. by   SharonH, RN
    Mr. Bush believes that by returning to the good old days before Labor Reform, the changes will "spur economic growth and hiring practices". But why stop at killing overtime? Why don't they repeal child labor laws also, that'll save big business a ton of money. I also suggest that they kill that pesky OSHA so the employers are not saddled with the costly burden of providing a safe workplace. Sheesh.
  13. by   ucandoit
    Amen, GWB is a looser! I sincerely hope and pray he looses the White House! He is economically ignorant!
  14. by   WashYaHands
    You can always write or call your elected officials to let them know your stance on an issue. They can't pass a bill if the house and senate representatives dont vote in favor of it.

    Linda

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