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New Rules Will Mean Millions of Workers Get Overtime Pay

CBS 58—Big changes to overtime rules could mean a pay hike for millions of workers.

The Labor Department is expected to announce the changes in the next few days. The Obama administration argues it will ensure fair pay for millions, but opponents say it will force businesses to restructure positions.

“It would make more people wanna go to work,” said Corey Stephens, who is in favor of the change.

Supporters of a plan to require more workers to get overtime pay say it will improve the work-life balance.

“I have two children and I know what that's like to be away from my kids, I just feel they should be paid for it,” said Quah Murry, another supporter of the plan.

"Businesses have become accustomed to working low-level salaried employees long hours for no extra compensation, but the pendulum has swung too far, and it's time to restore some balance," said Ross Eisenbrey, the vice president of Economic Policy Institute, a liberal think-tank, while testifying before a U.S. Senate committee.

Right now-people making more than $26,660 don't have to get over time. The new rules would increase that threshold to between $47,000 and $50,440. The exact threshold has not been announced. The change would impact about 5 million workers.

 “I think you'll probably see a move toward more structure, and rigidity in terms hours and time spent by employees,” said Steve Baas,  senior vice president of governmental affairs and public policy for Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce.

Baas says the rules could take away flexibility for workers, especially people who work from home or telecommute.

“The unintended consequences on the worker are what's really the potential disruption here,” Baas said.

And some opponents add that small business will take a hit, and have to move salaried workers to hourly.

“It’ll hurt that low, to mid-level management because they'll have less flexibility and fewer benefits,” said Bill G. Smith, the Wisconsin state director for the National Federation of Independent Business.

There are still some questions about what the final version of the rules will look like, and whether or not there will be some exceptions for certain job titles. It’s also unclear when businesses will have to implement the new rules.

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