Federal pay rule change could impact 20,000 New Mexicans

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – A new proposal for an expansion of overtime pay discussed on Tuesday could mean more money for tens of thousands of New Mexicans, but critics aren’t buying it.

Office workers, managers at fast food restaurants and workers in the tourism industry are all examples of people who might be making more money under a proposed change Pres. Barack Obama announced.

“That’s going to give a raise to five-million people, potentially, in this country who really deserve it,” Pres. Obama said.

That includes an estimated 20,000 New Mexicans who would become eligible for overtime pay.

The plan guarantees people making up to $50,440 a year can get paid overtime.

Current federal rules only guarantee overtime pay to workers making up to $23,660 a year.

“We expect the impact to be big,” said Terri Cole, President & CEO of the Greater Albuquerque Chamber of Commerce.

Big in a bad way, she said.

“It doesn’t leave any room for dialogue because it is such an extreme and bold decision to go this far afield and this deep that the only reaction from the private sector has to be, ‘Really?!’” Cole said.

She said it could force business owners to cut jobs, hours and benefits.

“Their goal is to be fair to their employees who they value greatly and to also make enough money to pay them, and make enough money to have a profit,” Cole said.

Local unions, on the other hand, said it is about time.

Despite inflation, this would be the first overhaul of the overtime rules since 1975.

Pres. Obama will speak about overtime pay in Wisconsin on Wednesday.

The new rule is set to take effect sometime next year, but Republicans said they will try to fight it.

People will be able to give their input online at http://www.regulations.gov/ after the rules are published in the Federal Register.

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