I give President Obama credit for trying to help workers who could be working long hours without pay. However, I think the push for overtime pay for some salaried people is misguided and downright foolish. As a professional editor who has been employed as a salaried person, I can attest to the fact that it’s not a benefit for some workers to receive overtime pay. The reality is that some jobs aren’t standard 9-to-5 jobs that can be monitored in a box not unlike the cubicle that zaps the creativity out of so many employees. Some workers perform better on a loose schedule. Many of us telecommute or work with clients on different time zones. We might take a 2-hour nap so that we are awake for an evening conference call with a 3-hour time difference. A recent article by Fox News Politics said the goal of the push for overtime pay may be to close the income gap in the country.
Helping the wrong people
In my opinion, the plan doesn’t help the people who really need the help. The push for overtime pay is for salaried workers who earn more than $455 a week. I think the people who are really suffering are the supervisors working at fast-food restaurants and coffee houses making less than $455 a week. They are should be paid overtime if they work beyond 40 hours because they are performing the same duties as hourly employees. However, office workers involved in creative projects don’t need to be paid beyond their typical salaries because they have flexibility to get their job done.
Leading to job layoffs
I think it’s very probably some people will be laid off from their jobs because of the increased cost of having to pay overtime to a new set of workers. It’s a shame because some of these workers don’t even want to be paid overtime. Another likely outcome is that employers will be strict about overtime policies. I’ve worked for companies that have said employees will be fired for working beyond 40 hours a week. No one received overtime pay because no one was allowed to work more than 40 hours. It’s extremely difficult to keep track of schedules, which makes the Obama idea a nightmare for people who work in creative fields. Also, it seems wrong to pay overtime for people who are “networking” at work lunches or social activities.
I rather have freedom and flexibility in my job rather than overtime pay. The reality is most people who have been working at their professions for a decade or longer have learned how to manage their time and multi-task to save time and resources. It’s a nice idea to want to help the struggling middle-class worker, but it’s not something most of us want. I know I enjoy working hard. My reward isn’t going to come in the form of overtime pay that puts a strain on the companies I work for as much as it will come in the form of appreciation and possibly a pay increase.
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