Monday, August 23, 2004

Good question.

John Edwards wonders...
"Why would anyone support this new rule which could mean a pay cut for millions of Americans who have already seen their real wages drop again this year?"
...and no one seems to have a good answer, as confusion seems to be the only constant when considering the new overtime rules promulgated by the Bushco Department of Labor.

What do the rules mean?
"To be candid, no one knows," said Jerry Hunter, a labor lawyer at Bryan Cave LLP in St. Louis and former general counsel of the National Labor Relations Board during the first Bush administration.

****

The new rules are intended to limit workers' multimillion-dollar lawsuits, many of them successful, claiming they were cheated out of overtime pay for working more than 40 hours a week.

Retailers, restaurants, insurance firms and banks have been targets, and jobs in those places are generally exempted from overtime in the new rules. They include chefs, pharmacists, funeral directors, embalmers, journalists, insurance claims adjusters, low- and midlevel bank managers and dental hygienists.

****

Labor leaders say slight changes in wording could exempt millions from overtime pay. The Labor Department says duties are more clear and make status more certain, resulting in "few, if any" losing overtime.

The changes will prompt "a whole new round of litigation to determine what these phrases mean," said Baldwin Robertson, a Washington labor lawyer hired by Working America to answer workers' questions on its Web site.

As Salon points out, there's only one thing we know for sure...
...one thing is certain: Businesses and their lobbyists are loving it.
The real question for most Americans, of course, is "What does it mean for me?" The Stakeholder offers a handy checklist for the curious. If you...
manage and regularly direct the work of at least two employees and who can hire or fire other employees, or make recommendations on hiring and firing.

or...

perform office or nonmanual work related to the management or business operations of an employer and who exercise "discretion and independent judgment with respect to matters of significance."

or are you one who...

requires advanced knowledge in science or learning acquired by specialized instruction

or do you...

make sales away from an employer's place of business

or are you one of millions of...

Computer employees, which include computer systems analysts, programmers, software engineers and other similar skilled workers...
...Well, then those extra hours at work aren't overtime hours anymore. Sorry.

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