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As I See It

President in La Crosse to pitch new overtime rules



La Crosse, Wisconsin is the backdrop today as President Barack Obama announces plans to put more money into the pockets of millions of workers in the U.S. The plan is to change the rules under the Fair Labor Standards Act. Right now, only those making less than $24,000 a year are to be paid overtime, typically time and a half. And there are a number of exemptions, such as those working as managers. During his speech in La Crosse today, President Obama will propose raising that standard to $50,000 a year. That makes sense. The threshold hasn’t changed since 1975, and inflation certainly has risen since then. People who work more than 40 hours a week should be paid for the hours they work. Critics suggest this change would hurt businesses and cost them money. That is likely true in the short term. Business costs will increase. And some say that’s not fair. But the goal shouldn’t be just to help businesses thrive, it should be about making sure workers can get properly compensated for their hard work. It costs businesses money when they have to ensure workplace safety, but few would argue that is a bad thing. Like increasing the minimum wage, it is nothing more than taking the existing rule and adjusting it for inflation, which hasn’t been done in 40 years. As Obama will outline today in La Crosse, it is past time to ensure those working more than 40 hours a week are properly compensated for their hard work.

Scott Robert Shaw serves as WIZM Program Director and News Director, and delivers the morning news on WKTY, Z-93 and 95.7 The Rock. Scott has been at Mid-West Family La Crosse since 1989, and authors Wisconsin's only daily radio editorial, "As I See It" heard on WIZM each weekday morning and afternoon.

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