The Labor Department last week touted changes to overtime rules that government
officials say would simplify and modernize the regulations, but questions remain
about who exactly would be eligible for overtime, the Houston Chronicle reports.
The rules would entitle 1.3 million low-wage managers to overtime, but would
make thousands of white-collar workers exempt, according to the department.
The newspaper notes the changes would be the first revisions to some of the rules in
White-collar employees who earn less than $425 per week, which is up from the
current threshold of $155, would be automatically eligible for overtime under the proposal.
Under the proposed regulations, if an engineer works with her hands
she may be eligible for overtime pay, the Chronicle reports. An engineer who
doesn't work with her hands may not.
The proposed rules would make workers whose primary job is to sell exempt from
time and one-half when they work over 40 hours. A highly trained nurse without
a degree from university may not receive overtime because of the changes that
would shift the way education level is measured as well, the newspaper reports.
In addition, administrative employees earning $65,000 or more per year would
be exempt from overtime pay, the newspaper reports. The Labor Department is
also proposing to replace language in a test for determining exempt or nonexempt status,
from "exercises discretion and independent judgment" to "position
One employment-law attorney does not find the new definition any clearer.
"What does that mean?" says Ellen Kearns, an attorney with Epstein
Becker and Green.
The reclassification would eliminate overtime eligibility for 640,000 workers,
according to a study commissioned by the department, but labor leaders estimate
more would be affected, the newspaper reports.