GOP Reps Battle Democratic Amendment on Overtime Rules

September 8, 2004 ( - US Representatives John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Charlie Norwood (R-Georgia) on Wednesday came out swinging against a Democrat's proposed amendment which they say would "gut" new federal overtime rules.

In the letter to House colleagues, the two GOP lawmakers supported the new overtime protection laws in the revised Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and warned that an amendment by Representative David Obey (D-Wisconsin) to the Department of Labor/Department of Health and Human Services appropriations bill may come up for consideration in the next few days. The Obey measure would “gut” the new rules if left unchecked, the two lawmakers claimed.

“Since the Department of Labor’s new overtime rule went into effect on August 23, thousands of U.S. workers have immediately benefited by receiving new overtime rights and increased pay,” the letter asserted. “Even better, the Department of Labor estimates that 1.3 million more Americans will become entitled to overtime pay under the new rule and benefit from this change.”

>The new overtime laws have come under heavy fire from Democrats. Republicans claim that more workers will be able to collect overtime pay. Democrats claim that due to the reclassification of some workers’ job descriptions, many people will become ineligible for overtime (See Think Tank Says FLSA Changes Will Impact 6 Million ).

The Department of Labor (DoL) announced in April that is was updating the “white-collar exemption regulations” of section 541of FLSA (See  DOL Releases FLSA Changes ).  Under the final regulations, workers making less than $455/week ($23,660/year) will be guaranteed overtime protections regardless of job duties.  This is a boost from the initial threshold levels that were being circulated of $425/week (about $22,100/year) and a significant boost to the old rules that only provided overtime protections to workers making less than $155/week (about $8,000/year).  The new regulations also provide guarantees to certain classifications of workers that previously were not guaranteed overtime protections.