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March 31, 2000
Legislation Expected to Shield Stock Option Profits from Overtime Calculati
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of the bigger thorns in the side of the Labor Department lately has been its opinion letter stating (in some cases) that stock option profits need to be considered when calculating overtime pay. The letter set off howls of protest from industry groups, who claimed that such calculations would be so onerous that companies would be forced to discontinue this popular benefit.

Now it looks like Secretary Alexis M. Herman will join a bipartisan group from the House and Senate that would like to amend Section 7(e) of the Fair Labor Standards Act, so employee stock option profits would not have to be included in overtime calculations.

As proposed the legislation would include certain criteria, such as minimum vesting periods, as well as a retroactive feature. The latter would protect employers from back overtime liabilities.

A popular issue

Labor Secretary Herman assured members of Congress recently that she wants to resolve this in a "way that is advantageous to American workers." In so doing she is backing a popular horse, as the National Center for Employee Ownership claims that somewhere in the neighborhood of 10 million workers are eligible for some form of stock options.

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