Everybody is freaking out about (proposed) new overtime rules in America.

Here are some of the insincere objections to the rules I’ve seen from pro-business websites.

Workers Might Lose Money in the Long Run

Yes, companies who previously paid people $23,000/year and called them managers — and worked them 50+ hours each week without overtime — are now concerned about how much workers earn. That makes sense.

Professional Employees Might Have to Punch a Clock

God-forbid someone who isn’t a janitor “punch a clock,” as if logging onto your computer workstation every morning isn’t the same darn thing. Many store owners track their exempt-level managers via security systems. They watch their leaders do their jobs via a closed-circuit TV system. That’s empowering, right?

Workers Will Lose Flexibility

I was at the vet, a few weeks ago, and heard one receptionist training another new receptionist. If you arrive at work in the morning and punch in from 8:00:00-8:07:59, you’re on time. Your check won’t be docked. If you punch in between 8:08:00-8:15:00, you lose all 15 minutes of pay, and you’re docked a point in some punitive system of justice.

For every additional eight minutes, things get weirder.

I later learned that the new receptionist worked at Barnes & Noble during the recession after she lost her professional job. Then she was laid off when B&N closed its local store. She started working with vets. Her skills are in marketing and project management, but she loves animals and enjoys subjecting herself to the “flexible” American system of work and the awe-inspiring time & attendance policies of the hourly, non-exempt workforce.

Offering her new opportunities to earn OT would be horrible. She needs the flexibility of arriving at work between 8:00:00 and 8:07:59!

More OT Means Less Developmental Opportunities

How do you train the workforce of the future when you have to pay them a decent wage AND maintain an inflated bonus pool for your executive leadership team? These are tough questions, yo!

Let’s face facts. The overtime rules need updating.

If you ask me to make a choice between the Chamber of Commerce and the manager who runs my local coffee shop, I’m going to pick my coffee shop steward. And if you’re wearing Brioni shoes, you don’t get to lecture anybody on how the proposed OT changes will hurt the economy.


  1. Great points, Laurie. But the minimum salary level for exempt is $23,000 – not $32,000. Simple number inverse we’ve all done.

    I apologize if this has already been mentioned in comments because I can’t see the other comments until I post mine.

  2. YES.

    As I might have said before, why “overtime” exists at all is beyond me–for exempt or non-exempt workers. We all deserve a 40 hour work week regardless of responsibility level.

    Small business owners themselves are, IMHO, the worst hit as they are never Off. Or we as a society never let them be Off: why aren’t you open later? why can’t you offer your employees health care? why can’t you answer the phone at all hours if i have a question? why don’t you have your employees work longer hours?

    But why do we all expect that kind of dedication and time commitment? Managing these expectations is a huge societal shift, the start of which is spurred by these overtime changes. Like a virus, though, business will shape-shift to get around them.

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