News from the United States Chamber of Commerce – Article by Sean Hackbarth
Now that a federal judge blocked President Barack Obama’s misguided overtime rule, should the incoming Trump administration push ahead with defending it in court?
The USA Today editorial board says, “yes.”
But as Randy Johnson, senior vice president of labor, immigration and employee benefits at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, explains “government mandates are no substitute for economic growth and, contrary to the administration’s assertions, they do little to lift the middle class.”
For many workers, becoming an hourly worker via a federal edict isn’t progress and doesn’t necessarily mean more money in their wallets, Johnson adds:
A salaried position brings greater flexibility, improved benefits in many cases and a stable income. Employees who lose this status would be unlikely to rush home and excitedly tell their spouse, “Honey, great news! I just got made an hourly employee again!”
Where employers have announced plans to reclassify white collar employees, they have heard extremely negative reactions from employees who typically see hourly employment as a demotion.
Furthermore, being eligible for overtime is not the same as earning overtime. Employers adjusting to the new rule could, and would, restrict employee hours to make sure they stay below the 40 hours per week trigger. And small businesses, nonprofits and public sector employers would be especially impacted by the loss of flexibility when they cap hours (or by the added costs of overtime when they cannot).
We all want workers to be able to earn a good living, but that will happen when our economy grows faster, not with decrees from Washington.