June 30, 2003
Dear Secretary Chao:
We write to express our serious concerns about the Department's proposed regulation on white collar exemptions to the Fair Labor Standards Act. These sweeping changes could eliminate overtime pay protections for millions of American workers.
We urge you not to implement this new regulation that will end overtime protections for those currently eligible. Under current law, the FLSA discourages employers from scheduling overtime by making overtime more expensive. According to a GAO study, employees exempt from overtime pay are twice as likely to work overtime as those covered by the protections. Our citizens are working longer hours than ever before - longer than in any other industrial nation. At least one
in five employees now has a work week that exceeds 50 hours. Protecting the 40-hour work week is vital to balancing work responsibilities and family needs. It is certainly not family friendly to require employees to work more hours for less pay.
Overtime protections clearly make an immense difference in preserving the 40-hour work week. Millions of employees depend on overtime pay to make ends meet and pay their bills for housing, food, and health care. Overtime pay often constitutes 20-25% of their wages. These workers will face an unfair reduction in their take-home pay if they can no longer receive their overtime pay.
We urge you not to go forward with any regulation that denies overtime pay protections to any of America's currently eligible hard-working men and women.
Senators Kennedy, Daschle. Murray, Dodd, Reed, Rockefeller, Harkin, Sarbanes, Akaka, Boxer, Edwards, Landrieu, Reid, Kerry, Stabenow, Dayton, Biden, Leahy, Mikulski, Bill Nelson, Lautenberg, Corzine, Feingold, Schumer, Dorgan, Kohl, Durbin, Bayh, Johnson, Lieberman, Byrd, Feinstein, Bingaman, Levin, Baucus, Pryor, Cantwell, Clinton. Conrad, Wyden, Carper, Graham, Lincoln