By Blocking Overtime Expansion, Trump Could Save Money Himself
The Department of Labor is appealing the judge's decision blocking the Obama administration’s expansion of overtime eligibility. That expansion would mean that millions of additional workers would be paid time and a half if they worked more than 40 hours a week, which means that a lot of people are now being kept from either extra time or extra money they should be getting. The Economic Policy Institute offers some of their stories:
My day was ruined when I found out they blocked the new overtime law. I’m a salaried manager at a gas station. I’m required to work 45 hours a week, but it usually ends up being more because I pick up shifts for people and fill in when employees call out. My company switched me to hourly, so I would get overtime for those extra hours. Without the new rule, they’re switching me back—just when I was on the cusp of finally getting paid for every hour I work. I don’t understand why lawmakers don’t want people to get paid for their work.
But the court case could be moot if Donald Trump decides he doesn’t think workers should get overtime. And Dave Jamieson points out that this is yet another conflict of interest for Trump, whose businesses would likely have to pay some workers more under the new threshold:
To understand the conflict in clear terms, imagine an assistant groundskeeper at a golf course that may or may not be owned by the Trump Organization. Our hypothetical employee works on salary, earning something in the low $40,000s. He likes his job, but it’s brutal in the busy winter season (we’re in Florida), and he’s often putting in 60-hour weeks to keep the course in shape. Under the old rules, he doesn’t get paid any overtime for those extra 20 hours he works in the high season â€• all he takes home is his base salary.
But under the new rules, he’d be eligible for time-and-a-half pay on those additional hours. That leaves his employer with a few options. They can start paying our groundskeeper overtime pay. They can bump up his salary so that it’s above the new threshold of $47,476, thereby making him exempt from the rules. Or they can hire an additional assistant and give her those extra 20 hours, thereby avoiding the time-and-a-half pay on our original worker. But any way they do it, the employer is going to have to pay some amount of money they weren’t paying before.
I guess we know what Trump will base this decision on.