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August 23, 2004
Effects of New OT Rules Still Unclear

As new rules governing overtime eligibility take effect today, nobody really knows the effect the new rules will have on the number of workers who receive overtime, according to USA Today.

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The Department of Labor contends the news rules will guarantee overtime for about 1.3 million low-wage workers and take away overtime from about 107,000 workers. The Economic Policy Institute, labor-backed think tank, says 6 million workers will lose overtime under the new rules.

Experts say they have yet to see a significant shift as employers switch to the new rules.

"I do not see any kind of rush by employers to take away overtime rights," says Bill Schurgin, a labor attorney for the Seyfarth Shaw law firm in Chicago.

At first, the Labor Department estimated that under new language in the duties tests for overtime exemption, 1.5 million to 2.7 million workers "will be more readily identified as exempt," the news service notes. However, the department removed the language from the final regulations, saying "it is impossible to quantitatively estimate the number of exempt workers."


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