Obama’s new ‘overtime rule’ will hurt Oklahoma firms

State Rep. Charles Ortega has called on Attorney General Scott Pruitt to intervene in an effort to prevent a federal regulation that could significantly impact small businesses from going into effect on December 1.

The U.S. Department of Labor’s release of the new “overtime rule” will nearly double the minimum salary threshold to exempt an employee from overtime pay. The final rule increases the standard salary level from $455 per week ($23,660 for a full-year worker) to $913 per week ($47,476 for a full-year worker). The rule requires the threshold to automatically update every three years, based on wage growth.  Ortega, a small business owner, said the new rule will cost small businesses thousands of dollars to comply with, and that the rule will force many businesses to close and others to pass those costs on to customers by raising prices for goods and services. Employers will definitely have to make some changes, he said.

“As a business owner, I believe it is important to be fair to employees,” said Ortega, R-Altus. “An employer can only retain excellent employees if they are treated fairly. I do not believe it is the president’s place to dictate to businesses how and what they should pay their employees. There are laws in place to protect every employee that holds a job.

“Most small business owners I know are barely getting by as it is. This is another example of federal bureaucrats imposing costly regulations on business owners. These regulations hurt our economy and end up costing consumers more money. I hope our attorney general will review this rule and take any action necessary to protect Oklahoma’s small businesses.”