DoL Overtime Suggestions Criticized

January 7, 2004 (—Democratic presidential candidates criticized the US Department of Labor's (DoL) proposal in which it offered employers ways to escape paying overtime wages to newly eligible employees if the revised regulations do go into effect as anticipated.
Democratic presidential hopefuls Wednesday used the DoL proposal to criticize the Bush administration’s policies and to suggest what changes should be made. Connecticut Senator Joe Lieberman claimed this showed that Bush is dedicated to making life more difficult for working families, the Associated Press said.

>Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts said through offering the employers ways to avoid paying overtime wages, the administration is showing corporations how they can circumvent the system and not properly pay workers their earned wages, the AP reported.   

>Senator John Edwards from North Carolina said this was an example of how workers need to be represented by a president who fights for their rights and not a president who works against them, in favor of big business.

>By issuing the guidelines, the DoL has made the latest move in the chess match between the Bush administration and the labor unions in the president’s attempt to revise the 1938 Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) (see  DoL Offers Companies Ways Around Overtime Payments ). 

>Ways cited by the DoL to cut costs were cut workers’ hourly wages and add the overtime to equal the original salary, raise salaries to the new $22,100 annual threshold, making them ineligible, or simply adhering to a 40-hour work week.

>The changes to the FLSA were proposed last March, and despite continued controversy, the DoL has said it will issue a final ruling this March.