Even More on the New OT Proposed Rule Change

March 14th, 2014 at 8:21 am

Sorry, I’m a touch obsessed with this OT thing–it’s the fruition of something I’ve worked on for years (with EPI’s Ross Eisenbrey)–but I’m presenting on full employment later today so I’ll be back to that soon.  I will say this about that–as I’ve discussed in the minimum wage context, we have to worry about full employment–job quantity–as well and job quality, and labor standards fits solidly into that camp of concerns.

Anyway, some more noodling on this over at the NYT Economix blog.  Check out the quote from highly respected labor economist Dan Hamermesh, someone who has studied this issue for a long time.

Here’s yours truly mixing it up with a guy from the biz lobby on the NewsHour last night.

So, why all the noise about a pretty arcane change in a couple of rules in a 76 year-old piece of legislation?  Because one of the ways in which so-called “advanced economies” earn that label is because of their standards, the norms that make life here safer and fairer regardless of your income or social status.  When we allow those standards to erode, as we have in this case of OT pay, we generate imbalances in income, the quality of life, and opportunities that are deeply inconsistent with our values.  It may sound like a reach to connect these values to a regulatory rule change in legislation from decades ago.  But that’s exactly what’s going on here.

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6 comments in reply to "Even More on the New OT Proposed Rule Change"

  1. smith says:

    But here is teachable moment that is being missed. The modern economy that makes office workers the new factory workers, the decline of manufacturing and manual labor, means even more changes are needed to the FLSA. I’ve advocated elimination for nearly all exempt status. I also propose a 35 hour work week because after 76 years, it’s ridiculous to think we’re forced to maintain the same number of hours. Both these measures would boost employment, and reduce inequality, without hurting the economy, except for the 1%, corporations, and their ilk.
    (again there is an important reason that tech workers have a special provision for themselves, to suppress the wages of a high skills jobs category of 3 million workers, which effects everyone’s wages, because the labor market and movement to job skills is fluid)

  2. Jill SH says:

    A report from the trenches, slightly off-topic, but what the heck: The New Hampshire House of Representatives reinstated and raised the minimum wage to $8.25 as of Jan. 2015, and to $9 in 2016, then indexed to inflation the year after. This was after the Tea-Party-controlled legislature abolished the state’s minimum wage two years ago.

    We’ve been the lowest wage in New England for some time, the only one on the federal standard. Recent polls put support for the $9 at 76%. Will still need to get through the R-controlled state Senate. But it was the Governor’s proposal in her state of the state message.

    Happy to say I was one of the representatives voting for the change.

  3. Larry Signor says:

    An adjustment in the overtime rules fits very nicely with a fuller employment story. Anyone know how a mouse eats an elephant? One bite at a time.

  4. save_the_rustbelt says:

    Nice writeup in the NYT. However…..

    In nearly 40 years working with health care providers I have never seen a “hospital orderly” treated as a supervisor. Huh.

    Many employers voluntarily exceed the current rules for morale and retention reasons, but should this become mandatory I predict employers will, for risk management purposes, revert to the exact letter of the law. With the new high tech time clock systems it often be easier to put as many employees as possible on the clock, and to enforce strict compliance (as required by the law).

  5. Puzzled says:

    My employer told me they don’t have to pay overtime since they are a non-profit ministry organization and housing is part of your pay package. When the details are nobody makes more than $12,000 a year , work 65 hours a week and most employees are assigned to a room in the dorm or double up in a mobile home with another employee. I hope this isn’t just an Arkansas thing. Any info would be appreciated