March 14, 2014
President Obama took the focus to the Department of Labor on March 13. The big subject on what is fair and equal pay is now on the table for review. Depending on your place in the economic food chain could cause one to be at odds with the Administration’s opinion on wages. The news of “Overtime Pay Proposal Triggers A New Debate About Wages” is dynamic discourse for socioeconomic change.
“Under existing rules, these exempt employees can be denied overtime if they are paid more than $455 a week. As a result, a “supervisor” could earn as little as $24,000 a year, while working well beyond 40 hours. In some cases, such a worker might put in enough hours to end up getting paid — in effect — less than the minimum wage.”
“The administration points out that the $455 level set in 2004 would be worth $553 today, after adjusting for inflation. Supporters say an update of that $455 pay level and a rewrite of the exemption rules could have a fairly large stimulative effect by giving workers more money to spend,” posts NPR.
The Department of Labor (DOL) states, “The Act applies on a workweek basis. An employee’s workweek is a fixed and regularly recurring period of 168 hours — seven consecutive 24-hour periods. It need not coincide with the calendar week, but may begin on any day and at any hour of the day. Different workweeks may be established for different employees or groups of employees. Averaging of hours over two or more weeks is not permitted. Normally, overtime pay earned in a particular workweek must be paid on the regular pay day for the pay period in which the wages were earned.”
The impact of this is not a brown problem. The DOL image leads the issue and infers to race versus economics and class. The opposition on this issue is clearly a state of jobs, profits, economic equity and enhancing those who have been relegated to modest wages while given that ole’ carrot of title.
One response shouts “layoffs” triggered by the increase in pay that will drive up cost, reduce revenue; whereas, the advocating opposition see’s this as a fair wage and social justice stance. The question is the traditional method of pay without the overtime pay, sustainable? The act is stated to uplift those who are working poor or on the “edge of poverty while working”.
“Working while poor” is a new state of being for many. This effect has economic shock waves that effect the biggest i.e. Walmart to the mom and pop businesses. Those in the overtime pay feeder are used for their services while also needing them to add to U.S. Consumer Spending. This complexity will drag many into big fight over what is the America we want or think it to be under the rubric overtime pay as the argument of choice.
The bigger topic is can the U.S. come to terms with the economic divide to build socioeconomic capacity.