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New Rules Could Mean More OT for Millions

By Jason Weinstein.
The U.S. Department of Labor is proposing changes to The Fair Labor Standards Act. Currently what are called exempt workers aren't eligible for overtime if they work over 40 hours per week, unless their salary falls under $23,660, or $455 per week.

Saying that number was last updated in 2004 the Department is proposing lifting that minimum salary to $50,440, or $970 per week in 2016.

"Corporations have the right to maybe give you a title, call you a manager and then work you for as long as they want to and not pay you. What we feel this is is a questinon of fairness," said Kate Murray, President of the Federation of Labor for Broome and Tioga County.

But potentially millions more workers earning overtime means more payroll costs for business. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce says the new rules would likely lead to millions of employees being converted from salaried professionals to hourly wage earners.

The Chamber also opposes the proposal to increase the threshold annually. It argues that would deny employers the opportunity to comment on new levels. It would also, according to the Chamber, ensure that future increases will go into effect during economic downturns.

The Chamber calls that scenario, "a guaranteed disaster for employers." Labor supporters, meanwhile call the proposed rules a well-deserved change for workers.

"If someone is working two workers 70 hours a week, both of them being paid for 40 hours a week, (a business) can well afford to and should be paying an additional worker," said Mary Clark, Regional Director of Citizen Action of New York.

****In Binghamton, Jason Weinstein, FOX 40 HD News***