Sunday, May 22, 2016

Higher pay does NOT mean fewer workers.

Robert Reich

The National Retail Federation is at it again, portraying the Labor Department’s expansion of overtime as hurting American workers and the economy. Yet, ironically, the NRF’s own analysts have found the overtime rule would lead to over 117,100 new jobs and fewer unpaid hours for retail workers.

And as if on cue, The Wall Street Journal has slammed the rule, claiming it will force employers to lower salaries – citing the same NRF study. The Journal even goes so far as to use the study’s finding that one in 10 salaried workers will work fewer hours as proof the rule is not in the best interests of workers, without acknowledging that those salaried workers aren’t now paid for their extra hours.

The NRF and its Republican allies in Congress are coordinating a major media attack on the new rule (see report from Media Matters, below). But the rule is vitally important. Some 50 percent of full-time workers already work more than 40 hours per week. Working unpaid overtime limits worker productivity and hiring, while contributing to soaring corporate profits. The Economic Policy Institute (EPI) finds that overtime expansion will “reduce excessive hours of unpaid work” while adding at least 120,000 jobs in the retail sector.

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