|Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., was disappointed with the Senate's passage of an amendment today that he said would, "try to force the square peg of the jobs of the 21st century into the round hole of the workplace of 50 years ago."
An amendment offered by Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, to the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education appropriations legislation currently in the Senate, would prohibit the Secretary of the Department of Labor (DOL) from reviewing nearly 80,000 comments on a proposal to update the rules concerning white-collar employees and the overtime requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act. The amendment passed by a vote of 54-45.
Enzi, the chairman of the Senate Subcommittee on Employment, Safety and Training said the amendment undermines the DOLs efforts to better accommodate today's workplace and anticipate future workplace trends.
"White-collar regulations today are substantially the same as they were 50 years ago, even though the workplace has changed dramatically during the last half century," said Enzi. "This amendment won't help employers and employees clearly and fairly determine who is entitled to overtime. My colleagues should have allowed Secretary Chao to do her job. By going around the process, we are saying we don't want anybody to look at what the public is saying, and we don't want to see if there can be a change."
The Administration's proposed rule would make workers automatically eligible for overtime if they earn less than $22,100. Currently, only those workers that earn less than $8,060 are automatically eligible for overtime. Enzi said this change would result in about 1.3 million more of the lowest paid workers being guaranteed overtime pay.
The Senate expects to vote on final passage of the Labor-Health and Human Services bill today.
Senator Enzi's Floor Statement follows.
to Labor-Health and Human Services Appropriations Bill
U.S. Senator Mike Enzi
September 4, 2003