How President Obama's changes to overtime wages affect the Bay area

6:59 PM, Mar 13, 2014   |    comments
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St. Petersburg, Florida -- President Obama signed a presidential memorandum to modernize overtime wages Thursday, telling the U.S. Department of Labor to take action, which is expected to happen in 2015. 

President Obama says too many Americans are still struggling despite the lowest unemployment rate in 5 years.

So what this could mean for the Tampa Bay area?

"It is certainly is a touchy topic right now," says Stetson University assistant professor of Employment Law Jason Bent adding President Obama's move for more overtime pay isn't as easy as it sounds. 

"The business community sees the administration's position on minimum wage and overtime as encroaching on freedom of contact. Employees might look at it as a necessary protection," Bent says.

President Obama was joined by supporters in DC today, "If you work more, you should get paid more."

White House officials say the latest U.S. Department of Labor numbers show millions of people in this county are being underpaid and deserve more money in their bank accounts. 

"This is going to make a big difference for managers at fast food restaurants and retail, office workers, cargo inspectors [...]," Obama said. 

President Obama says it is wrong workers making just more than $455 a week have been exempt from overtime.

"It's an exception originally meant for high paid white color workers that now covers workers making $23,000 a year."

But law experts say the new idea could have people working less and making less.

"I think it is important to think about the potential effects. It might be that employers do cut back on number of hours for some employees," Bent says.

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