Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Republicans Are Disgusting. Overtime Regulations.

Finally!  Overtime for 4.2 million workers who are treated like dirt by their employers!  

Well.... not so fast.  Nobody is getting out of the no-overtime trap very soon. 

I know this overtime trap well as my husband was stuck in it for several years.

Exempt From Overtime

We all know that employers are supposed to pay time and a half to employees who work more than 40 hours a week.. However, there is a loophole.  If an employer considers you a manager or supervisor, that employer may well get out of paying you overtime if your salary exceeds $24,000 a year. Yes, if you have a whizbang job that involves management activities and you make more than $24,000 a year, you may be considered EXEMPT from those overtime rules.  Your boss can work you until the cows come home and you are stuck -- until or unless you can find another job.

What this has meant is that millions of people who held the title "Manager" but only made $25,000 or $30,000 a year could be imposed upon to work 50, 60, 70 or more hours a week.. because they were exempt from overtime regulations!

Thanks, Obama!

Thanks to President Obama and the Obama-led Department of Labor, on December 1st, 2016 -- next week -- that $24,000 salary cutoff was slated to go up to $47,000 a year--- which meant that millions of overworked supervisors would actually get overtime.. finally.

Here's the way Politico framed it:
The Labor Department regulation, previously set to take effect in Dec. 1, effectively restored overtime pay to the middle class after decades of erosion had reduced it to a benefit available only to low-wage workers.
(That Politico article provides a good summary of this whole issue.)

But No!!

Except that that long-expected relief was just blocked by a Federal judge who seems to think that this shouldn't be a Labor Department regulation; that, if it was going to pass muster, it needed to be an Act of Congress.  So all of those hard-working people toiling 50, 60, 70 hours a week with no overtime are screwed.. as usual.  The sad thing is that this federal judge was an Obama appointee! 

Close to home.
My husband was one of those employees caught in this exempt squeeze a few years back.  When he was considered a non-supervisory employee, a sales associate, he was eligible for overtime.  But then he was moved into a management position.  The duties and the hours were really difficult.  He was a store manager for a nationwide chain, so not only was he responsible for all of the daily questions, concerns, problems, reports, money, people, etc.. But if the store alarm went off in the middle of the night, he was on call.  If someone couldn't come in and he couldn't find a replacement, he worked extra hours even if it was his day off.  He averaged about 55-60 hours a week.

His company actually did pay a pittance for those extra hours.. about four dollars an hour.  Yep.  Four bucks.

I can't imagine the absolute sadness, the despair actually, of so many people with that "Manager" title who make 30K or 35K and get no overtime.. who were looking forward to some compensation for all of the work that they were going to do during the upcoming Holiday season.  And now.. nothing.     

We have vicious people in this country.

I don't know what to say when I read some of the comments about this.  I don't know what kind of people we have in this country.  Here's an example:
It's not the governments job to interfere and over regulate the private sector.  Employees must negotiate their own benefits.

That kind of comment frustrates me because it is so obviously wrong.  It is the kind of thinking that has been used against workers' rights, minimum wage, overtime rules, for generations now.. As if an employee is really able to negotiate equally with an employer.  As if an employee can always pick up and leave and find a same or better job if the conditions are not right.  

How can people still think that way?  

How can people vote for Donald Trump?

Now, since I mentioned Trump, let me take up that comment about Republicans...  This was blocked by an Obama appointed federal judge.  So why blame Republicans?  Because Donald Trump had said that one of the first things he wanted to do was to roll back this rule, assuming it had gone into effect December 1st. Because you can bet your bottom dollar that the plaintiffs in this lawsuit are mostly Republican voters.  Because the reason that the current ridiculously low bar for overtime pay has remained so ridiculously low for decades is mostly due to Republican legislators and administrations.

There is no joy in Mudville...

Somewhere tonight, in up to 4.2 million households in this country, there is no joy as workers who thought they were going to get some relief, some compensation for those 50 and 60 hour weeks they usually work during the holiday season, are not going to be getting anything.

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