Obama wants to make millions more workers eligible for overtime

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President Obama announced the Department of Labor will propose extending overtime pay to nearly five million American workers.

In an op-ed on Huffington Post, the President wrote in part, “Right now, too many Americans are working long days for less pay than they deserve. That’s partly because we’ve failed to update overtime regulations for years.”

He continued, “This week, I’ll head to Wisconsin to discuss my plan to extend overtime protections to nearly 5 million workers in 2016, covering all salaried workers making up to about $50,400 next year. That’s good for workers who want fair pay, and it’s good for business owners who are already paying their employees what they deserve.”

Some business groups, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, are warning that the changes could be drastically expensive for employers, and even threaten benefits and schedule flexibility.

Elon Law Associate Professor Eric Fink told FOX8, “There will be an additional cost for employers. From the employee point of view, it’s really viewed as a matter of equity and ensuring the labor market is valuing people’s time. Part of the idea here is if you really need that many hours of work, maybe hire additional people and not have them work overtime.”

Certain jobs such as firefighters and police officers who work atypical schedules may be exempt, Fink said, but for the most part, salaried public and private sector employees who make less than $50,000 annually and work more than 40 hours per week would have to get overtime pay.

A fact sheet released by the White House said the change would apply to about 160,000 North Carolina employees.

There will be a 60-day public comment period.

The Department of Labor hopes to implement the changes by 2016.

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