President Obama looks to expand overtime pay

SPRINGFIELD, Mass (WWLP)– Just one week after the President called for a raise in the federal minimum wage, he is urging the Labor Department to expand who qualifies for overtime.

The way the federal law stands now, salaried employees that make more than 455 dollars a week or are in positions of management don’t qualify to earn overtime pay, but President Obama’s newly proposed rules would raise that threshold.

The move is expected to affect millions of workers nationally and drastically affect businesses’ bottom line.

John Carty is a financial advisor who works closely with business owners.

“I’m all for workers rights and getting people working, I am.  I think it’s good for the economy, it’s good for the families, it’s good for individuals,” Carty said.

Carty told 22News he would rather see these changes be left up to business owners and taken out of the hands of government.

Tim Murphy, the Chair of the Legislative Steering Committee for the Affiliated Chamber of Commerce of Greater Springfield, told 22news he also supports employees getting paid fairly, but that businesses have to survive for that to happen.

“If the government puts new rules in place that make it harder for businesses to survive, then nobody benefits and that’s our concern,” Murphy said.

Murphy also told 22News when these measures go into effect, Massachusetts law is likely to follow suit.  But even if they don’t, businesses will still be required to abide to the changes in accordance with federal law.

This rule change does not require congressional action, but when Bush administration changed the salary exemption from $155 a week to the current $455 dollars, in 2004, it took two years to go into effect.

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