Week ahead: Anticipation builds for Obama overtime rule

Industry groups are anticipating the final release of the Department of Labor's overtime rule in the coming week.

The rule, which would make an estimated 5 million Americans eligible to earn overtime pay, is under final review by the White House Office of Management and Budget.

Groups in recent weeks have flocked to the agency to ask for last-minute changes. Those discussions appear to have wrapped up on Thursday, according to the administration's meeting calendar.

The proposed rule would make all salaried workers who earn up to $50,440 a year eligible for overtime pay, up from the current $23,660 threshold. Politico reported, though, that the new threshold could be lower, at $47,000.

But business groups are already mobilizing against the rule, saying it could lead to reduced working hours for many employees.

Even with the threshold reduced by $3,000, the National Retail Federation called the change "unworkable."

"The Department's one-size-fits-all rule will curtail career advancement opportunities, diminish workplace flexibility, damage employee morale and lead to a more hierarchical workplace," NRF senior vice president for government relations David French said in a statement on Wednesday.

"Many employees who currently enjoy the benefits associated with salaried, exempt status may be forced to take a step back in their careers when they are converted to hourly, non-exempt status as a direct result of this rule."

Despite wide opposition to the rule and a record number of meetings with administration officials, French said the Labor Department is unwilling to reconsider the rule in any meaningful way absent congressional action.

The window is also closing on the administration's ability to release the rule without the threat of it being overturned. If the rule is released with fewer than 60 legislative days left in the session, conservative lawmakers could have a chance to rescind the rule through a resolution under a new administration.

Also in the coming week, on Tuesday, the Homeland Security Subcommittee on Transportation Security will hold a hearing to discuss any potential safety risks in resuming U.S. commercial air service to Cuba. http://1.usa.gov/1TKM8Ca

On Wednesday, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee will meet to look at employee misconduct in the Environmental Protection Agency. http://1.usa.gov/1s6wDy7

Elsewhere on Capitol Hill, the House Financial Services Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit Subcommittee will meet to look at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's proposed rule-making to limit arbitration. http://1.usa.gov/1ZNiFfA

The Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee will also hold a hearing to look at small-businesses struggles under the Affordable Care Act. http://1.usa.gov/1Wvi4Rq



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