By Benjamin Goad - 03/12/14 10:35 AM EDT
Labor Secretary Thomas Perez declined Wednesday to estimate how soon his agency would enact new overtime pay regulations at the direction of President Obama.
The White House revealed late Tuesday that Obama would instruct the Labor Department to revamp existing regulations on which types of employees are eligible for overtime pay. The administration isn’t expected to formally announce the push until Thursday.
He would not say if that could happen this year.
“I’m all about getting it right,” Perez told The Hill. “We’re going to take whatever time is necessary.”
Current regulations require employers to pay overtime to salaried workers making less than $455 a week. Obama’s proposal would redefine which employees can be classified as “executive or professional” and thus ineligible for overtime pay.
The action would expand the sphere of eligible employees to include, for instance, fast food shift supervisors and some office workers now being denied overtime pay.
Workers would also be required to perform a minimum percentage of “executive work” to qualify for the so-called white collar exemption that denies other employees – including low-level retail managers – access to overtime wages.
“Due to years of neglect, one of the linchpins of the middle class, the overtime rules that establish the 40-hour workweek, have been eroded,” a White House official said.
Justin Sink contributed.