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*-- Obama administration extends overtime to the tune of $12B --*

WASHINGTON - The Department of Labor on Wednesday finalized new rules extending protections to 4.2 million workers who work more than 40 hours per week but do not receive overtime pay.

The White House announced Tuesday the rules, to go into effect on December 1, raise the salary threshold under which most salaried workers are guaranteed overtime pay, from $23,660 to $47,476 per year, with an adjustment assured every three years. Doubling the threshold, the White House said in a statement, will provide workers with an additional $12 billion in wages over the next 10 years.

The ruling offers employers flexibility in compliance with the new rules, providing opportunities to increase salaries to keep certain positions exempt from overtime pay, offering overtime pay for workweeks in excess of 40 hours per week and reducing overtime hours.

The Labor Department will issue guidance documents to help employers meet the new rules. The ruling improves on the overtime model found in the Depression-era Fair Labor Standards Act, which, the White House statement noted, "hasn't kept up with the times."

Most hourly workers already have overtime protections, and a limited number of occupations, including teacher, lawyer and doctor are ineligible for overtime pay or are subject to special provisions.

The is expected to mostly impact the retail and restaurant industries, but will also affect all private sector industries, government offices and non-profit agencies and schools.

The new rule is the result of a petition on the government's "We the People" website, and the suggestions found in 270,000 comments and meetings with employers, workers and their agents, educational institutions and local government representatives.


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