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January 30, 2004
Some Vets Fear Losing OT under Proposed Rules

Some veterans are concerned that they may lose overtime eligibility because proposed rules would allow employers to count military training when classifying workers as "learned professionals" who are exempt from overtime pay, the Associated Press reports.

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Labor unions are trying to bolster their case against the overtime changes by highlighting the concerns of some veterans. The labor unions and some veterans contend that the new rules would make some veterans ineligible for overtime in the white-collar jobs they currently hold, according to the AP.

They point to language in the Labor Department's proposal, which says "the exemption is also available to employees in such professions who have substantially the same knowledge as the degreed employees, but who have attained such knowledge through a combination of work experience, training in the armed forces, attending a technical school, attending a community college or other intellectual instruction."

An official from the Labor Department tells the Washington Post that there has been some confusion over the proposed rules, which the department aims to clarify when it issues final rules by the end of March.

"Where people have raised concerns, we're confident we can address it in the final rules," says Victoria A. Lipnic, assistant secretary of labor for employment standards. "Vets can be assured their vet status will not result in them losing overtime."

The question of who would lose their overtime is one of the most divisive aspects of the Bush administration's proposal. Bush contends 644,000 white-collar workers would lose their overtime eligibility. Labor unions and many Democrats say that about 8 million workers would lose overtime eligibility.

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