US La­bor Dept wants salary to count on over­time rule

Kuwait Times - - BUSINESS -

The La­bor Depart­ment said Fri­day it wants salary level to count in de­cid­ing who is el­i­gi­ble for over­time pay. But it’s hold­ing off set­ting the max­i­mum pay a worker can get and still qual­ify. That’s ac­cord­ing to a brief filed by the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion in fed­eral court in New Or­leans in a case over whether Pres­i­dent Barack Obama’s ad­min­is­tra­tion had the right to dou­ble the thresh­old to around $47,000. A fed­eral court last year blocked the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion rule, and La­bor Sec­re­tary Alex Acosta has sug­gested the de­ci­sion may have called into ques­tion whether his agency could use a salary level at all.

He told a Se­nate panel this year that he’d con­sider rais­ing the max­i­mum salary level from nearly $24,000 to a bit more than $30,000 to keep up with in­fla­tion. The idea is that work­ers mak­ing less than the thresh­old would be el­i­gi­ble for time-and-a-half pay when they work more than 40 hours a week. Obama’s salary level would have made 4 mil­lion more Amer­i­cans el­i­gi­ble for over­time pay. In Fri­day’s brief, the La­bor Depart­ment did not en­dorse the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion’s salary max­i­mum and is seek­ing pub­lic in­for­ma­tion on a new thresh­old.

Im­pact on reg­u­la­tions

In­stead, the ad­min­is­tra­tion asked the court to “ad­dress only the thresh­old le­gal ques­tion of the depart­ment’s statu­tory au­thor­ity to set a salary level, with­out ad­dress­ing the spe­cific salary level set by the 2016 fi­nal rule.” That was good news for em­ploy­ers that had op­posed the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion’s over­time pol­icy. “It’s great to see a Depart­ment of La­bor fi­nally tak­ing the time to fully eval­u­ate the im­pact its reg­u­la­tions will have on busi­nesses,” said An­gelo Amador, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of the Restau­rant Law Cen­ter.

Democrats re­jected the no­tion that the gov­ern­ment needs more time to con­sider the salary cap and sug­gested any­thing lower than Obama’s roughly $47,000 would es­pe­cially af­fect mi­nori­ties. “Most em­ploy­ees are not even aware that they’re los­ing out on the pay or the time with their fam­i­lies they have earned” when they work more than 40 hours a week, said Rep. Mark Takano of California, the se­nior Demo­crat on the House’s panel on work­force pro­tec­tions. Trump, he said, “is re­fus­ing to fight for the Amer­i­can work­ers who he re­peat­edly promised to pro­tect.” In is­su­ing the rule in May 2016, the La­bor Depart­ment said it would “go a long way to­ward re­al­iz­ing Pres­i­dent Obama’s com­mit­ment to en­sur­ing ev­ery worker is com­pen­sated fairly for their hard work.”

The con­cern was that work­ers might feel com­pelled to cover for ab­sent co-work­ers and dis­play pas­sion for their jobs by putting in far more than 40 hours a week, ef­fec­tively at a lower pay rate - or for free. Ad­vo­cacy groups say that’s time em­ploy­ees they could be spend­ing with their fam­i­lies or ad­vanc­ing their ed­u­ca­tion to get bet­ter-pay­ing jobs. Busi­nesses said the rules would have cre­ated an overly re­stric­tive en­vi­ron­ment that would have pe­nal­ized younger and slower work­ers. Trump, a real es­tate mogul, said dur­ing the 2016 cam­paign that he hoped small busi­nesses would get an ex­emp­tion to the over­time rule. —AP

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Kuwait

© PressReader. All rights reserved.