Experts: Too soon to measure impact of new payment proposal

TOPEKA (KSNT) – For the first time in two years, President Barack Obama saw his approval rating hit above fifty percent.

And on Monday, he decided to take those new ratings out for a spin by announcing a proposal to change the way overtime pay is allocated.

Currently, an employee can be considered a “manager” if they make $455 a week – or $23,660 a year – and not be eligible for overtime. In the proposal, Obama wants to more than double the number of people eligible for overtime by raising the threshold more than $500 a week to $970 a week or $50,440 a year.

“What we’re understanding it to be is more than doubling the threshold of who is eligible for overtime pay and who’s not eligible for overtime pay,” Eric Stafford said about how the proposal was interpreted by the Kansas Chamber of Commerce.

However, the proposal wouldn’t go into effect until 2016.

But local industry experts are already looking at the pros and cons of the new proposal.

“We don’t know exactly what the rules are going to be,” said Jim Martin, a professor at Washburn University. “What will happen over time is businesses will pull back on salaries.”

Martin said businesses would lower salaries because they know their middle-level management would be eligible for overtime compensation.

And unlike the minimum wage debate, this proposal does not have to be approved by Congress.

For now, both Stafford and Martin said it is too early to determine what kind of impact the proposal would have on Kansans.


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