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Group praises Dems for bill delaying overtime rule

Group praises Dems for bill delaying overtime rule
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The conservative Workforce Fairness Institute (WFI) is praising certain House Democrats for introducing legislation to delay a Department of Labor rule that will expand overtime pay to some 4 million Americans.

Before members left for summer recess last week, Reps. Kurt Schrader (D-Ore.), Jim Cooper (D-Tenn.), Henry Cuellar (D-Texas) and Collin Peterson (D-Minn.) unveiled the Overtime Reform and Enhancement Act.

The legislation incrementally phases in the new threshold over the next three years, beginning with a 50 percent increase this December. Under the legislation, the salary threshold would increase to $35,984 on Dec. 1. Each year following, the salary threshold would increase by $74 per week until Dec. 1, 2019, when the Labor Department's proposed $47,476 threshold would be met.

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The rule more than doubles the current threshold, which now stands at $23,660 per year.  

“Since the [Labor Department's] immediate phase-in date was announced, we’ve heard from business owners and their employees who are worried about implementing this increase overnight,” Schrader said. “Without sufficient time to plan for the increase, cuts and demotions will become inevitable, and workers will actually end up making less than they made before. It’s long past time we strengthen overtime pay protections for American workers in a meaningful and effective way.”

While the WFI would like to see the rule overturned, the group’s spokeswoman, Heather Greenaway, said House Democrats deserve credit for drawing attention to the issues created by the rule.

“There are few issues today it seems where Republicans and Democrats agree, even marginally, and yet, here, in response to actions undertaken by a Labor Department intent on rewarding union bosses at the expense of employees and employers, consensus has emerged between both parties that something must be done,” she said. 

“We will continue to work with elected leaders irrespective of political persuasion to derail this giveaway to Big Labor, which will further harm an economy that continues to struggle leaving hardworking American families behind.”