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Love, business leaders oppose new rule requiring more overtime pay

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Posted at 7:36 PM, Aug 15, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-15 21:36:25-04

SALT LAKE CITY -- A new rule from the U.S. Department of Labor is deeply unpopular with a number of Utah business owners and with Congresswoman Mia Love, who has taken on their cause.

The rule, scheduled to kick in on Dec. 1, 2016, requires employers to pay overtime for any salaried employee making $47,476 per year or less. Currently, overtime is required for employees making $23,660 per year in salary.

The reason for the rule is simple: putting an employee on salary could be an easy way to make them work long hours without extra pay.

But some employers, and Love, say the results of the new rule will hurt employees.

"We have 250 employees who will be affected by this new regulation. All of those people will go on hourly," said Dave Harper, the President of Meridian Restaurants, which operates restaurants in seven states, employing 3,000 people.

Love said the overtime rule hurts those it's vowing to protect.

The argument from these employers: salary allows employers and employees to have a more flexible relationship where an employee might work long hours to learn a new skill or during a busy season, and then work less when they are seasoned or when there is simply less work to be done.

But Dan Crawford with the Economic Policy Institute says employers are most concerned with losing the strong upper hand they enjoy in relationship with employees.

"The idea that young workers should cut their teeth by working long hours for low pay, or even for free, is the result of employers holding all the cards in the economy," wrote Crawford in a blog post on the issue.

Love's Democratic challenger in November, Doug Owens, didn't comment on the issue, but his campaign manager, Taylor Morgan, suggested that Owens agrees with Love.

"Doug Owens has more than 25 years experience standing up for Utah businesses and fighting against burdensome regulations. In Congress, Doug will always put Utahns and Utah businesses first," Morgan said.

Love is sponsoring a resolution opposing the new overtime rule.