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Archive for Wednesday, January 21, 2004

Key lawmaker criticizes overtime pay plan

January 21, 2004

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— A proposal that would drastically revamp the nation's overtime pay rules is confusing and won't curtail costly lawsuits against employers as the Bush administration hopes, a Republican senator said Tuesday.

The Labor Department's overtime plan is holding up passage of a major spending bill in Congress. Shortly before lawmakers were to take up the stalled bill again, Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pa., chairman of the labor appropriations subcommittee, summoned Labor Secretary Elaine Chao to a hearing to explain why she was pressing for the overtime changes.

Chao said the current rules are outdated and confusing.

Specter said the proposal's new definitions of professional, executive and administrative employees were still ambiguous and would face plenty of lawsuits.

The plan, which is expected to be issued in final form by March 31 and does not require approval by Congress, has been embroiled in controversy because it would remove overtime protections for millions of higher-paid workers.

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