Overtime Law Takes Effect

August 27, 2004 - 12:19

It has been a week since the new Overtime Security Rule has taken effect and so far all is quiet in the wake of the new revisions. The newly updated Overtime Security Rule strengthens and protects overtime pay for 6.7 million American workers, according to the Department of Labor. The new rules clarify and update the previous rules, created in 1939 and not updated since 1949, which were considered ambiguous and confusing.

“6.7 million workers will see their overtime protections strengthened under the new Overtime Security Rule,” said U.S. Secretary of Labor Elaine L. Chao. “Under the new rules, workers will know their overtime rights, employers will know their responsibilities and the department can more vigorously enforce these protections. In addition, the department has undertaken the most extensive compliance outreach on any regulation in its history to help employers comply with the new rules,” added Chao in a press release from the Department of Labor.

The new rule expands the number of workers eligible for overtime by nearly tripling the salary threshold. Under the previous regulations, only workers earning less than $8,060 annually or $155 per week were guaranteed overtime. Under the new rule, workers paid less than $23,660 or $455 per week are now automatically guaranteed overtime regardless of their titles or duties. A number of salaried workers earning above this threshold will also gain the right to overtime under the new, stronger rules. This strengthens overtime protections for 6.7 million low-wage salaried workers, including 1.3 million salaried white collar workers who were not entitled to overtime pay under the previous regulations. Businesses will have to pay an additional $375 million and workers will gain that amount in additional earnings every year.

Hourly workers are guaranteed overtime regardless of how much they are paid. Blue collar and manual laborers and workers, such as construction workers, operating engineers, carpenters, and longshoremen are also guaranteed overtime under these newly effective rules. Police, firefighters, emergency medical technicians, licensed practical nurses and other first responders now have strengthened overtime protections. Union workers under collective bargaining agreements are not impacted.

To learn more about the new Overtime Security Rules go to www.dol.gov/fairpay. This Web site includes fact sheets, video instruction and is searchable. It also tells workers how to file a complaint with the Department of Labor if they believe they are improperly being denied overtime.

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