The president has requested that the Department of Labor issue new regulations on overtime, which will cost employers. Shockingly, that is the point. The dirty little secret of employment in the U.S. for the last 40 years is that employers have been given a tremendous discount on their labor costs, with wages and salaries for most workers having seen virtually no real increase since the Regan presidency.
Workers have become more productive and efficient and almost none of that value has gone to their wages. In essence, workers have been subsidizing wealthy businesses and the fact that the labor regulations will slightly level that playing field is hardly a burden for employers.
A spokesperson for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce argued that this will not help workers, because employers will simply employ two 25-hour per week employees, rather than pay overtime for one 50-hour a week worker. He notes, “I’m trying to say this in a way that doesn’t make employers sound evil and greedy, but employers need to be profitable.”
What he fails to note is that it will help workers because the employer will have to employ two employees, instead of saddling one with ridiculous hours for subsistence wages. Another “red herring” used to show that the overtime regulations will be bad for employees is the argument that this will “force” employers to automate.
In reality, this is already happening, and will strike the fast food industry just has it has manufacturing. This may advance the date by a few years, but it is inevitable. And it will advance the oncoming issue of jobs and wages to the ultimate question:
How do we live in a consumer society where they are no longer jobs that pay living wages and permit the existence of consumers?
Oh, and the way not to sound greedy is to accept the need to pay all employees a reasonable salary.
Source: legalnewsline.com, “FLSA Rising: Looming rule changes in FLSA portend more litigation, complexity for employers,” Stephanie Grimoldby, September 22, 2015