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President could raise overtime limit for millions of workers

Published On: Mar 12 2014 05:25:24 PM CDT
Updated On: Mar 12 2014 06:38:13 PM CDT

Do you work more than 40 hours a week, but don't earn any overtime? A change in Washington may impact your paycheck.

President Obama is expected to issue an executive order Thursday, which will force companies to pay overtime to millions of employees.

The change would effect salaried workers only, not those who are paid by the hour.

Right now, companies don't have to pay overtime to anyone who earns more than $455 a week, which is just under $24,000 per year.

President Obama wants to raise that limit by an unknown amount. Some predict it could double to $50,000 a year. That may be good news to some workers, but business owners are concerned.

If you are a manager at a convenience store or in charge of employees at a fast food restaurant, you could qualify for overtime pay change.
"You have an "x" amount of money in your payroll, and now you are being told a bunch of that is going to have to go toward overtime, so how do you deal with that?" said Wichita Independent Business Association President Tim Witsman.

Witsman fears the change will hurt the bottom line of many Kansas owners.

"It costs about 38% more per employee for a small businesses to comply with regulations, if it is a tax regulation it is four times as expensive," Witsman said.

If the President gets his way, this would be the first change to overtime requirements since 2004.

"Part of the reason the administration is arguing for it, is they are arguing the same amount of money doesn't buy as much today as then," said Friends University Finance Professor Dr. Malcolm Harris. "I'm sure there is going to be controversy about whether or not the President has the authority to do this."

Already this year, Congress blocked Obama's attempt to raise the minimum raise.

Unless lawmakers can stop this latest labor move, Witsman say some business owners will be forced to close.
"You reach a point where you say it is not worth it, I will either retire or go collect a pay check," Witsman added.

He knows many will be keeping a close eye on Thursday's expected announcement.

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