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Retailer organization unhappy with overtime vote

Washington, DC — The National Retail Federation today blasted the Senate for blocking a Department of Labor initiative to update the nation's overtime laws.

The department in March proposed regulations that grant overtime pay to certain salaried employees who work more than 40 hours a week and earn less than $22,100 annually by raising the overtime coverage threshold from $155 per week to $425. The measure would also reclassify certain types of jobs as professional, administrative or executive, and therefore ineligible for overtime pay.

The NRF charges that the existing law forces employers to "shoehorn 21st century jobs like computer programmer into Cold War job titles like keypunch operator," said president and ceo Tracy Mullian. "It is extremely difficult for an employer to determine whether a worker should receive overtime, and the result has been an explosion of litigation from disputed decisions."

The union-financed Economic Policy Institute, which opposes the revision, has claimed that the regulation change would benefit only 737,000 employees and would instead make some 8 million white collar workers who now receive overtime pay ineligible for such compensation. The DOL has said the change would give overtime to 1.3 million workers who don't currently receive it.

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