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Re: overtime rules  NewsB-@aol.com
 Aug 23, 2004 19:50 PDT 


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I noticed the conversation about the new FLSA rules. I occasionally
volunteer here at ACES to give general legal overviews. This looks like one of those
times when a bit of information may be helpful.

Some of the basics:

If you're nonexempt, you are owed overtime pay if you work more than 40
hours a week. There is no such thing as "comp time," for private sector employees
unless their work is controlled by contract. Although employees may refer to
the time taken when they leave early on Friday afternoon off because of late
work on Tuesday, that is not comp time--it is simply an effort to keep your
time under 40 hours. While it is a popular with employees to let them bank
"comp time" and use it when they wish, Congress has never passed legislation to
make that possibility legal. Major labor unions oppose it and say it would
be abused.

If you're exempt, you are owed a salary if you report to work, unless you
are docked pay for violating health and safety rules (and there are now some
other narrow exceptions for pay docking.)

If you make under $455 a week, you are nonexempt. If you make over that, you
are exempt if your work fits one of the exceptions. In newsrooms, it will
usually be because you are a manager, or because you are a "creative
professional," writing columns, doing investigative work or other fairly independent
work that isn't about gathering facts and reporting them. Whether a copy editor
is considered exempt will depend upon the duties of that person and needs to
be evaluated on a case by case basis. Also, it is important to note that
state laws sometimes override the federal laws by limiting the exempt
categories. You would need to check with your state human resources department to learn
whether your state is one of those. Finally, there are still many nuances in
these regs--so don't assume you have the full picture without checking with
an attorney. But the new rules are at least more clear, and you'll have an
easier time knowing where to start, whether you're investigating your own
situation or trying to help the business beat write more cogently.

Newspapers with circulations under 4,000 are exempt from this aspect of
FLSA, but if they are in a group with total circulations over 4,000, they are.

The disputes about whether more workers gain or lose overtime are generally
because different speakers are looking at different aspects of the workforce.
While the Bush administration rules clearly sweep many low wage workers back
into non-exempt categories by updating the salary thresholds, they may also
recast more middle-class workers as exempt through the changes in definitions
of duties. Also, the baseline of which workers previously got overtime is in
dispute. In one study by a leading labor analyst, it was assumed that
everyone eligible for overtime actually worked it and was paid for it--and that
study has drawn fire. On the other hand, the supporters of the revisions have
not wanted to admit that some workers that had overtime before will lose it.
Sen. Harkin has been trying to pass a bill that would guarantee that no
overtime would be lost under the new rules. The Senate passed his bill. House has
not.

The new regulations address newspaper workers specifically with a few
enlightening paragraphs , and they can be found at _www.dol.gov_
(http://www.dol.gov) . See the tabs to "Fair Pay Initiative," where you will find numerous
resources listed on the right, including a link to the regulations. Look under
"Creative Professionals" in the regs.

Hope this helps to clear some confusion.

Tonda Rush


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<DIV>I noticed the conversation about the new FLSA rules. I occasionally
volunteer here at ACES to give general legal overviews. This looks like one of
those times when a bit of information may be helpful.  </DIV>
<DIV> </DIV>
<DIV>Some of the basics: </DIV>
<DIV> </DIV>
<DIV>If you're nonexempt, you are owed overtime pay if you work more than 40
hours a week. There is no such thing as "comp time," for private sector
employees unless their work is controlled by contract. Although employees
may refer to the time taken when they leave early on Friday afternoon off
because of late work on Tuesday, that is not comp time--it is simply an effort
to keep your time under 40 hours. While it is a popular with employees to let
them bank "comp time" and use it when they wish, Congress has never passed
legislation to make that possibility legal. Major labor unions oppose it and say
it would be abused. </DIV>
<DIV> </DIV>
<DIV>If you're exempt, you are owed a salary if you report to work, unless you
are docked pay for violating health and safety rules (and there are now some
other narrow exceptions for pay docking.) </DIV>
<DIV> </DIV>
<DIV>If you make under $455 a week, you are nonexempt. If you make over that,
you are exempt if your work fits one of the exceptions. In newsrooms, it
will usually be because you are a manager, or because you are a "creative
professional," writing columns, doing investigative work or other fairly
independent work that isn't about gathering facts and reporting them. Whether a
copy editor is considered exempt will depend upon the duties of that person and
needs to be evaluated on a case by case basis. Also, it is important to note
that state laws sometimes override the federal laws by limiting the exempt
categories. You would need to check with your state human resources department
to learn whether your state is one of those. Finally, there are still many
nuances in these regs--so don't assume you have the full picture without
checking with an attorney. But the new rules are at least more clear, and you'll
have an easier time knowing where to start, whether you're investigating your
own situation or trying to help the business beat write more cogently. </DIV>
<DIV> </DIV>
<DIV>Newspapers with circulations under 4,000 are exempt from this aspect of
FLSA, but if they are in a group with total circulations over 4,000, they
are. </DIV>
<DIV> </DIV>
<DIV>The disputes about whether more workers gain or lose overtime are generally
because different speakers are looking at different aspects of the workforce.
While the Bush administration rules clearly sweep many low wage workers back
into non-exempt categories by updating the salary thresholds, they may also
recast more middle-class workers as exempt through the changes in definitions of
duties. Also, the baseline of which workers previously got overtime is in
dispute.  In one study by a leading labor analyst, it was assumed that
everyone eligible for overtime actually worked it and was paid for it--and that
study has drawn fire. On the other hand, the supporters of the revisions
have not wanted to admit that some workers that had overtime before will lose
it. Sen. Harkin has been trying to pass a bill that would guarantee that no
overtime would be lost under the new rules. The Senate passed his bill. House
has not. </DIV>
<DIV> </DIV>
<DIV>The new regulations address newspaper workers specifically with a few
enlightening paragraphs , and they can be found at <A
href="http://www.dol.gov">www.dol.gov</A>. See the tabs to "Fair Pay
Initiative," where you will find numerous resources listed on the right,
including a link to the regulations.  Look under "Creative Professionals"
in the regs. </DIV>
<DIV> </DIV>
<DIV>Hope this helps to clear some confusion. </DIV>
<DIV> </DIV>
<DIV>Tonda Rush</DIV>
<DIV> </DIV></FONT></BODY></HTML>

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