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Local Labor Expert Wants More Changes To Go Along With Obama’s Overtime Guarantee

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roberts250 Bob Roberts
Bob Roberts is a native of Wilmette who has worked in Chicago media...
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(CBS) — Now that President Obama wants to guarantee overtime pay for more American workers, one local labor law expert is hoping that changes are made in the regulations.

The salary threshold now is only $455 a week — less than $24,000 a year. IIT-Kent Professor Martin Malin, the director of the school’s Institute for Law and the Workplace, said the threshold is the easiest part of the regulations to change, but he said that if that is all the President proposes, a basic problem remains.

“The perennial problem with the white collar exemption regs is that that they’re not adjusted for inflation,” he said. “They’re almost obsolete as soon as they’re issued.”

He said, had the threshold been linked to inflation since it was last increased in 2004, today all workers making less than $550 a week would be guaranteed overtime. If it had been linked since 1975, when the Labor Department set the threshold at $250 a week, any worker making less than $970 a week would have to be paid overtime.

Those exempted also must perform a supervisory or executive function. Malin said the duties test should be simplified. He said the regulations are so confusing now that some employers inadvertently deny workers overtime, while it allows other employers to dodge the requirement in a calculated fashion.

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