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President Wants to Revise Federal Overtime Rules

Posted: March 15, 2014

President Barack Obama reportedly plans to use his executive authority to order new overtime protections for workers by revising regulations covering who should be paid extra for working more than 40 hours a week.

According to a recent article in the Washington Post:

A White House official said Wednesday that Obama would direct Labor Secretary Thomas Perez "to begin the process of strengthening overtime pay protections for millions of workers to help make sure they are paid a fair wage for a hard day's work while simplifying the rules for employers and workers alike."

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the move reflects the fact that current Labor Department regulations establishing a 40-hour workweek have grown outdated. According to the White House, millions of salaried workers have had to work 50 or 60 hours a week without being paid overtime — and, in some cases, "making barely enough to keep a family out of poverty."

The White House did not say how administration officials plan to overhaul regulations to ensure that workers are better compensated. But administration officials cited their authority to regulate overtime under the 1938 Fair Labor Standards Act. That act requires most workers to be paid overtime but permits exemptions at the discretion of the Labor Department. One prominent exemption permits employers to deny overtime pay to "executive, administrative and professional" workers.

Under Labor Department regulations, salaried workers making more than $455 a week are not required to receive overtime pay. Administration officials suggested that the threshold should be raised to somewhere between $550 and $970. According to a White House official, "The President believes that if you're making $25,000 a year and you're working 60 hours a week, you should be getting paid for the extra hours you work.

NFDA is very concerned that this initiative could have significant financial ramifications for funeral service. NFDA will review the proposed changed when they become available; we will be actively engaged in the rulemaking process and any Congressional actions related to it to ensure the views of funeral service are represented and our concerns are addressed. NFDA will keep you informed as this issue develops.