BLR News


New Overtime Regulations Brouhaha - What Was the Fuss All About?

Old Saybrook, CT - January, 2005 - Controversy over the Department of Labor's (DOL) changes to the Fair Labor Standards Act's overtime regulations raged through the recent presidential election. Both sides made competing claims, depending on your side of the aisle; either overtime was being stolen from the American worker, or long-overdue simplifications of overtime regulations were needed to stave off foreign competition. Congress debated shutting down funding for the new regulations, then backed off.

Four months later, the issue seems to have evaporated. A search on Google for "controversial overtime regulations" doesn't appear to bring up a single reference after the election. Susan Prince, J.D, legal editor of HR Manager's Legal Reporter, notes that: "We are simply not seeing any great outcry against the new regulations, either from employers or employees. Since other regulations like FMLA continue to produce an avalanche of reader questions, it seems like the overtime changes are a nonevent."

DOL issued the regulations with the rationale that overtime changes were sorely needed, and that millions more workers would become eligible with the expansion of overtime pay to workers earning less than $23,660 annually. (Many workers earning more than that are eligible also.)

Advice to HR Managers: Overtime Enforcement is Serious
The HR Manager's Legal Reporter, which explains compliance in practical terms for human resource managers, advises employers not be lulled by the lack of controversy over the new regulations - DOL's Wage and Hour Division is busy enforcing them. "Eligible workers have to be paid overtime, period," BLR's Susan Prince explained. "You cannot make everyone work extra hours and then just order them pizza. Employers also have to be wary of hidden liabilities. If workers have been denied legitimate overtime in the past, the fines and settlements could be catastrophic."

Employers may obtain a free copy of a Legal Reporter article summarizing the Fair Labor Standards Act's new overtime regulations. Contact BLR at 800-727-5257. HR Manager's Legal Reporter is a monthly newsletter published by Business & Legal Reports, Inc., since 1978.

About BLR
Based in Old Saybrook, Conn., BLR publishes books, newsletters, and Web products serving professionals in safety, human resources, compensation, and environmental management. For a free catalog, call 1-800-727-5257 or visit

BLR: John Brady
860-510-0100 x159