Magazine article Workforce

A Major Revamp of Overtime Law

Magazine article Workforce

A Major Revamp of Overtime Law

Article excerpt

* Regulations Date from 1949

Currently in the midst of the public comment period on proposed changes to federal regulations covering overtime pay, the Department of Labor expects to get an earful. Present law as to who is-and who is not-eligible for overtime dates back at least half a century, and has spawned endless debate and numerous lawsuits.

In introducing the new regulations last month, aimed primarily at white-collar workers and designed to remove gray areas in the law, DOL Wage and Hour administrator Tammy D. McCutchen said that an update of the current overtime exemptions "is long overdue." That is an understatement. The old regulations, drafted in 1949, refer to some jobs that no longer exist, like keypunch operators, legmen, and straw bosses. Under today's rules, a worker earning as little as $155 a week can qualify as an executive exempt from overtime. Critics of the rules say the regulations are fuzzy on where the line can be drawn in docking exempt employees' pay. Supervisors who engage in sexual harassment, for example, can be disciplined, but they still must be paid if they are classified as exempt. …

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