Senate Okays Gregg Overtime Amendment

May 4, 2004 ( - The U.S. Senate on Tuesday approved an amendment to a Bush administration proposal guaranteeing that the government keeps workers in about 55 professions, including computer programmers and grocery store managers, eligible for overtime.

Senator Judd Gregg, (R-New Hampshire), chairman of a labor-issues committee, introduced the measure amending a tax bill still being debated as a way to win over opponents of new regulations governing who gets time-and-a-half pay over 40 hour per week (See  DoL Releases FLSA Changes ). Senators okayed the provision by a 99 to 0 vote, with Democratic presidential challenger John Kerry the only absent member.

The Gregg amendment blocks U.S. Department of Labor (DoL) Secretary Elaine Chao from infringing on overtime rights for those in a list of jobs including many that Democrats targeted as being particularly at risk losing overtime el igibility. For example, Senator Ted Kennedy (D-Massachusetts) warned that millions of workers are at risk of losing the extra wages under the overhauled rules and has been seeking to block them from taking effect in August.

“We want to make it absolutely clear that these people are not going to be negatively impacted,” Gregg explained about his proposal.

Meanwhile, Chao has been traveling around the country, speaking to lawmakers and workers to keep the agency’s new overtime rule proposal intact because she says it’s needed to clarify regulations that haven’t been changed in decades

To counter what she calls a “campaign of misinformation,” Chao spoke Tuesday to nurses in Jacksonville, Florida and police in Louisville, Kentucky.

For more information, go to the DoL’s FairPay Web site, which has additional information about the new overtime rules, at .