Home Store In Memoriam Deborah Newsletter Forum Topics Blogfeed Blogroll Facebook MySpace Contact Us About

A New "New Deal"

Reported by Eleanor - August 19, 2004 -

Studio B with Rick Folbaum (Aug. 19, 3:00 p.m.) covered a story about the new overtime rules that go into effect on Monday. David Forney, an attorney who testified before the Senate Committee on Appropriations, was interviewed on this new law. (Forney represented a coalition of employers of every size and in every state, including small business, retail, manufacturing, financial services and insurance, education, and other areas when he testified.)

Forney addressed how the new law might affect the exempt and non-exempt status of employees. (Employers have been forced to pay overtime since the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (FLSA), a law that established overtime pay for time worked in excess of a 40-hour week.) Forney said that the new law will affect those with executive, administrative and professional positions who make between $23,600 and $100,000, and it guarantees overtime pay to employees making less than $23,600 a year. Whether or not a person with more than $23,600, makes more or less under the new law depends on "job duties." Some with overtime pay now may be paid strictly on salary under the new rules, and the new rules "are clear."

Folbaum said that the president has been "slammed" on this new law with charges that it is "unfair and anti-worker." Forney said that a lot of the criticism has come from Unions who are not affected anyway due to bargaining agreements. He added "the losers are the lawyers" who bring class action lawsuits into the courts to "exploit" the overtime rules.

Comment: The new rules were not really clarified here. If you don't have a union, and you make over $23,600 you might be subject to the loss of overtime, if your level of responsibility can be determined by an employer as executive, professional or administrative. I cannot imagine that employers will use the new rules to increase what they pay in overtime - just decrease their employee cost. Lobbyists for employers, not employees, pushed this bill through Congress. The FLSA has worked well for employees since it was passed as part of Roosevelt's New Deal in 1938. It guaranteed overtime for any hours over 40 hours a week. How any employee, or any member of Congress for that matter, would support any "rule change" that gives employers more control over determining who is exempt or not exempt from this law is a mystery to me. It takes away the 40-hour guarantee of overtime for a large segment of the population and opens the door for more employer control over who gets overtime pay. Another step backwards with Bush.