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IT Workers Not Eligible for Overtime in New Rules 1068

bjarvis354 writes "The San Diego Union Tribune is reporting that the Department of Labor Secretary Elaine Chao unveiled new rules that seem to specifically target IT workers and other white collar workers for exemption from overtime pay. The Oneonta Daily Star claims that 'According to new exemption tests, the employee isn't guaranteed overtime pay if primary duties involve office or non-manual work,' and 'Computer employees are not guaranteed overtime pay if they make $455 a week, or if their hourly rate is $27.63. Affected employees include computer systems analysts, programmers, software engineers or anyone with a similar title.'"
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IT Workers Not Eligible for Overtime in New Rules

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  • Well... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by setzman ( 541053 ) <stzman@stzMOSCOW ... m> on Wednesday April 21, 2004 @12:27PM (#8930090) Journal
    $455 a week=$1820 a month=$21840 per year.

    If this figure isn't the take home pay amount, it looks like it would be a good idea (perhaps even a necessity) to get a second job. Ouch. Good luck to all you IT people.

    • by ScottGant ( 642590 ) <scott_gant@sbcgl ... T ['oba' in gap]> on Wednesday April 21, 2004 @12:38PM (#8930271) Homepage
      I repeat, the overtime rules were reworked at the last minute!

      The Bush administration on Tuesday pulled back from a planned overhaul of the nation's overtime rules, allowing more white-collar workers -- including those earning as much as $100,000 a year -- to continue collecting premium pay if they log more than 40 hours a week.

      From The Oregonian []
      • by ArmenTanzarian ( 210418 ) on Wednesday April 21, 2004 @12:57PM (#8930552) Homepage Journal
        From []

        In a move designed to blur the issue, the Administration today said it was revising its previous effort to terminate overtime protections for 8 million workers []. But even by the Bush Administration's own admission, the "new" regulations will mean that tens of thousands of lower-income workers will be cut off []. Opponents of the Administration's plan say that the revisions would still cause problems for mean millions. The regulations are so bad for workers that some state legislatures have even rushed through legislation to block them [].
      • by Johnny Mnemonic ( 176043 ) <mdinsmore&gmail,com> on Wednesday April 21, 2004 @01:25PM (#8930957) Homepage Journal
        Computer workers do not qualify for OT if the following applies:

        The employee must be employed as a computer systems analyst, computer programmer, software engineer or other similarly skilled worker in the computer field performing the duties described below;

        -The employee's primary duty must consist of:

        1) The application of systems analysis techniques and procedures, including consulting with users, to determine hardware, software or system functional specifications;

        2) The design, development, documentation, analysis, creation, testing or modification of computer systems or programs, including prototypes, based on and related to user or system design specifications;

        3) The design, documentation, testing, creation or modification of computer programs related to machine operating systems; or

        4) A combination of the aforementioned duties, the performance of which requires the same level of skills.

        These are the up to date rules changes proposals. ay /fs17e_computer.htm
      • by cluckshot ( 658931 ) on Wednesday April 21, 2004 @01:54PM (#8931371)

        Not only is the Story Wrong but even the thinking behind the ruling is wrong.

        Overtime laws were set in place first during the 1930's to reduce labor supplies in order to maintain some price levels to prevent deflation. During World War 2 the US War Department (Now DOD) ran into a problem with productivity. They had very highly motivated workers who had been starved for money and who had family in the field fighting and dying. These workers wanted to win the war all by themselves THIS WEEK!

        The problem developed that they bought the ideas behind the new rules that more hours of work ment more productivity. So they wrote contracts with companies that open endedly encouraged long hours. As soon as these began productivity spiked upwards and by the end of a month it had crashed to levels in the order of 50% or less of what productivity had been during the 8 hr/day 40hr/week times. The hours were pushing upwards to 100 or more a week so the US War Department did some serious studies on productivity.

        Their research showed that after about 35 to 36 hours a week of work, no additional productivity could be sustained even working much longer. In factory line situations this was even worse as defect rates rose catastrophically. Simply stated the 40 hr work week was about 4 hours too long for human functionality. By 44 hours the situation was seeing rates of production drop dramatically. By 72 hrs nonfunctionality had happened.

        Studies have been done of office workers on this issue and the numbers are even worse for them on hours of sustained productivity. The reality is that OVERTIME is no good for families, industry or profits! It is a good way to get programs or devices that fail. In offices where workers salaried are paid flat rates, we often see long periods of non-productive time because of this. The few "Workaholics" we see are mostly very busy but frankly most of them actually damage the production effort in the long run. Unfortunately they look good to management who often does not look to see where the money came from.

        The whole ideals set for the Bush team is an early industrial revolution set of ideas that did not work. Their "Adam Smith" "Invisible Hand" theories do not work either. Their concept is that there is a shortage of labor. This is inspite of 80 years of American History showing that we have a profoundly dangerous over supply of labor both in the USA and world wide.

        The Technolological progress many of us in IT are responsible for is actually increasing the world wide efficiency of the labor by about 12% a year. This is threatening to collapse the market all together. This is the "Jobless Recovery" that is still very much a reality. By the way, don't give me the crap about 308,000 jobs in March. It is probably a fiction anyway but assuming it is true, the USA must add nearly 360,000 jobs a month for static economic conditions to be maintained due to population changes. The USA must also increase income by about 3.5% per annum for the same reasons. It currently is seeing rises in income about 1%/annum which translates into a 2.5% cut in actual wages per average person.

        • by pbox ( 146337 ) on Wednesday April 21, 2004 @02:35PM (#8931879) Homepage Journal
          The 300K new jobs in March most likely came about by counting in the people standing in line for unemployment checks. After all it is like working for the checks...

          Almost as ingenious, as the previous move, whereas the fast food employees suddenly became part of the manufacturing sector. The manufacture cardio-vascular problems...
        • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 21, 2004 @02:47PM (#8931996)
          I just came off a contract as a software engineer at a subsidiary of a Fortune 500 insurance company. The management, apparently, does not believe your statements about reduced productivity when you work too many hours in a week. All the full time (hence salaried) engineers were working well over 80 hour weeks. They would keep track of the number of hours these salaried employees worked. One of my co-workers put in over 90 hours one week and was not even in the top 10 for number of hours worked. This went on for months. If a union is required to stop this insanity, I say unionize. Those poor schlubs were beat and ill-tempered almost all the time and I can tell you they made a lot more mistakes than they should have.
        • by Rich0 ( 548339 ) on Wednesday April 21, 2004 @03:15PM (#8932300) Homepage
          The Technolological progress many of us in IT are responsible for is actually increasing the world wide efficiency of the labor by about 12% a year. This is threatening to collapse the market all together.

          The problem is that our system is designed around the scarcity of labor - which is becoming less the case.

          Suppose we developed the technology to have robots do 100% of all physical labor, and 95% of all non-inventive labor (any kind of service which doesn't involve very high levels of labor). In theory in such a society everyone could afford to live like a king (at least at present population levels). However, under our present system, you'd have 50 people living far better than any king in history (the 50 people who own the robots), and everybody else who can't even afford to buy food.

          The problem is that with modern technology, the need for workers is lowering every year. However, with our present system you can only obtain money by working. Anybody see a potential problem with this?

          I'm not sure that communism is the right solution, however eventually something has to change. Perhaps mandatory maximum 5 hour work weeks will be the norm one day?
          • by SirChive ( 229195 ) on Wednesday April 21, 2004 @04:02PM (#8932791)
            Yes, this guy gets it! Society is facing structural changes in the nature of work unlike any seen since the beginning of the industrial age.

            Back in the 50's and 60's the popular press was filled with stories predicting a future when automation would mean we could all work 25 or 30 hour weeks and still live the good life. The accepted presumption was that the wealth of society would be shared.

            But under our current system of unrestrained capitalism business has found it more profitable to fire a quarter of the workforce, move a quarter of the jobs overseas and crack the whip on the remaining few workers forcing them to work massive hours for stagnant pay.

            Eventually something has to give. The trouble is that Joe Pickup and Mommy Minivan still buy into the illusion of upward mobility even as their finances crumble around them and decent work disappears.

            Maybe when the 30 million Walmart and Fast Food jobs get turned over to Service Robots people will wake up and start to wonder how we are going to provide the chance at a decent life to all the members of our society.
    • Re:Well... (Score:4, Insightful)

      by jacquesm ( 154384 ) < minus physicist> on Wednesday April 21, 2004 @12:40PM (#8930317) Homepage
      This pretty much formalizes the situation that already exists. Also, in other countries there is a large trend towards a fixed monthly salary, instead of an hourly wage. That's a knife that cuts both ways though, it's pretty hard to get overtime paid under such an agreement, unless your employer specifically orders you to come in after hours.
    • Re:Well... (Score:4, Informative)

      by andyrut ( 300890 ) on Wednesday April 21, 2004 @12:42PM (#8930346) Homepage Journal
      $455 a week=$1820 a month=$21840 per year.

      So there are 48 weeks in your year? :)

      $455/week x 52 weeks = $23,660/year

      Your point is still valid, after taxes that's not a whole lot of money on which to live.
    • Re:Well... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by hsidhu ( 184286 ) on Wednesday April 21, 2004 @12:44PM (#8930377) Homepage
      With regards to this, i have a question.

      Lately there have been couple of articles on slashdot and basically satated that most of the computer work these days is not really "white collar" (I dont like these terms presonally).

      So if one looks at other jobs around alot of workers are unionized eg, airline pilots/mechanics, auto workers etc etc.

      Is there a union for computer professionals?

      If so which one I havent found one, if not why not?

      We talk all high minded on slashdot thousands times a day every day 365 days a year. Is it all talk or do people here think that a Computer Professionals union is needed these days?
      • Re:Well... (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Maestro4k ( 707634 ) on Wednesday April 21, 2004 @01:03PM (#8930617) Journal
        • We talk all high minded on slashdot thousands times a day every day 365 days a year. Is it all talk or do people here think that a Computer Professionals union is needed these days?
        It's really a question of the lesser of two evils. Unions aren't exactly the great defenders of the workers they want you to believe they are. I read a very enlightening book a while back detailing (with documentation) what's happened with unions so that they've gotten out of control. I personally would rather avoid joining a union and take my chances as they stand now.
        • Re:Well... (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Bronster ( 13157 ) <> on Wednesday April 21, 2004 @01:21PM (#8930892) Homepage
          I read a very enlightening book a while back detailing (with documentation) what's happened with unions so that they've gotten out of control.

          And I read a very enlightening book a while back detailing (with documentation) that not joining a union will make gremlins fly out of your nose, make your wife/girlfriend/right hand leave you for a football jock and besides the unions will give your name to the Mafia and you'll be lucky if they only break your kneecaps.

          I swear that's exactly what it said - only I can't remember exactly which book it was. It certainly was enlightening though.

          Back on topic: of course there's going to be bad eggs in unions and some of them probably have got out of control. Guess what - there's employers like that as well. I'd rather have those unions there and employers realising that they can't gouge me quite so hard because my co-workers are willing to back me up. Politics goes where there's power, and I for one am glad that unions have enough power to influence things (while hopefully not gaining so much power that the bad apples take over - I think that's what you're talking about. Surprise, it happens everywhere with power, including politics in general if you haven't been following along at home).
          • Re:Well... (Score:5, Insightful)

            by Ironica ( 124657 ) <> on Wednesday April 21, 2004 @02:08PM (#8931587) Journal
            Back on topic: of course there's going to be bad eggs in unions and some of them probably have got out of control. Guess what - there's employers like that as well.

            More to the point, unionization is the corrollary to incorporation.

            Corporations exist for one purpose: to protect and increase the profits of their shareholders. Unions exist for one purpose: to protect the jobs and compensation of their members. NEITHER has any direct interest in the consumer's environment; they only will improve things for consumers to the extent that such actions help achieve their primary goals.

            Yet, somehow being profit-motivated is darn near sacred in this country, while unions are evil because they raise wages (and therefore cut into profit margins). I think there should be a better solution, but we haven't found it yet... so for the time being, I definitely support unions as a countermeasure to corporations. (Which doesn't mean I support every union's every action blindly; people make bad decisions. There are also corps that do *good* things, though.)
      • by XopherMV ( 575514 ) on Wednesday April 21, 2004 @01:03PM (#8930626) Journal
        WashTech [] is the union for computer professionals.
      • Re:Well... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by _Lint_ ( 30522 ) on Wednesday April 21, 2004 @01:05PM (#8930650)
        No. The last thing professionals need is a union interfering in their ability to negotiate their own employment terms.

        This policy doesn not mean you can't be paid for overtime. It only says that your employer doesn't have to make it compaly policy to pay you for overtime.
        • Re:Well... (Score:5, Insightful)

          by danaris ( 525051 ) <> on Wednesday April 21, 2004 @01:40PM (#8931180) Homepage

          But if you were part of such a union, you'd have a say in it. History seems to show (though I'm neither a historian nor in a union, so I'm not exactly an expert...) that unionized workers can, on the whole, get better employment terms than non-unionized workers. That's not to say that you, with your mad negotiating skills (which you may or may not possess; just an example) can't negotiate a better contract, just that for the majority of workers, the contract the union can get them is better than the one they could get on their own.

          I've also heard some pretty stupid stuff that unions have done. However, a union is neither better nor worse than the people who make it up--which means that at worst, it can be a royal nuisance to the people in it and outright dangerous to the people not in it, employees and employers both. But you can always try to change it once it's there. Without it there, we won't have nearly as much clout as a group.

          Dan Aris

        • Re:Well... (Score:5, Insightful)

          by GOD_ALMIGHTY ( 17678 ) <> on Wednesday April 21, 2004 @02:11PM (#8931619) Homepage
          What makes you think that you will still be in a position to bargain for better terms from here out? If your job is seen as a commodity, how can you differentiate yourself in a way that will allow you to negotiate these terms? Unionization is a reflection of the maturity of an industry. It also does not require that anyone working in the field be a Union member, it simply means that having a Union is in the best interest of the majority of the workers in that industry or with that specific job. Software development has been around for over 30 years as a job. Auto workers saw their job mature in about 50 years. I would argue that the Software industry is simply maturing and the thought of Unions is something US software engineers should research and consider.

          It's no different that trying to get a better price by buying in bulk at Sam's Club. Unions help to insure that workers do not take the brunt of volatility in a mature market. I don't recommend Unionizing new industries as soon as they show up. Individualism and laissez faire policies tend to help new industries, but can actually stop the formation of new industries around old ones.

          There is no such thing as a free market in reality. There are always going to be factors that make the market non-free, reason says that you should find the best way to work within the system that exists. Unions, like Corporations, are simply a tool to better organize resources within society. Planned economies don't work, but lack of regulation can make a commoditized industry too volatile to build new industries on top of. How could you build a chip fab if there wasn't a stable and relatively inexpensive source of energy and pool of workers to run it?

          Does this mean that this country's experience with Unions has been all roses? No, but neither has our experience with Corporations, yet lot's of people join Corporations, although the Corporation's alligiance is more to shareholders than workers. If you think of a Union as a Corporation who's shareholders are the members and who's customers are the Corporations the shareholders work for, it seems much more natural.

          I personally think that this country has done a very good job of exploring the capabilities of capitalism and laissez faire policies. I also think that the progress and complexity of the economy and society we have built with these tools may need other tools and new tools to continue it's growth.

          I like Roosevelt's VP Henry Wallace's quote: "Freedom in a grown-up world is different from freedom in a pioneer world. As a nation grows and matures, the traffic inevitably gets denser, and you need more traffic lights."

          The idea is to strike balances so as to better the country as a whole without stepping on the rights of individuals. If the eletrical and telecom industries had not matured, it would have been much harder to develop the industries that are built on top of them.

          Other countries understand these principles, especially India. That's why the rest of the world standardized on GSM (via regulation) in the cell phone world and why there are more applications, more widely available for cell users in the rest of the world. This country lost it's leadership in the cell industry, because it refused to mature the industry and grow new ones on top of it.

          If you want to see the US continue the growth it has had, then we must be intelligent and rational about the tools we use to manage it. Capitalism vs. Socialism is a dead argument. Now we must compete with other countries who aren't still bound to the ideological struggles of the last century. Unions and mature industries are just part of the toolbox. If you don't like the way Unions have been run in the past, think about how you would do it in the future. Would an equivelent of the SEC for Unions help? What model of collective bargaining for labor would best reflect the types of jobs that are currently being commoditized?
      • Re:Well... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by aastanna ( 689180 ) on Wednesday April 21, 2004 @01:07PM (#8930682)
        I would imagine it would be very tough to unionize IT.

        First, auto workers, airline pilots, factory labour, etc. tend to work for a small number of companies with high fixed costs. There are IT people in every company, making negotiations and organization difficult.

        Second, IT is a very diverse group. Tech support, code monkeys, developers, systems analysts/architects, network admins, management that still does code reviews/coding, etc. It's difficult to lump those positions together, or draw distinctive lines between all of them.

        Third, skill as a programmer depends a lot on natural talent, and there's a lot of ego involved. There are lots of really gifted individuals who would rightfully object to being grouped in with people who took a six month course at the local community college.

        Fourth, some of us are a lot more worried about our jobs than others. If you're doing helpdesk tech support you should be very worried. If you're spending most of your time meeting with users in person and doing design for a profitable company you're a lot harder to outsource, and have much more job security.
        • Re:Well... (Score:5, Interesting)

          by pyrotic ( 169450 ) on Wednesday April 21, 2004 @01:32PM (#8931057) Homepage
          I belong to the National Union of Journalists in the UK. They issue press cards, but also do uniony things, like get discounts for buying Macs, insurance deals, bitching about certain companies. If you think programmers are a diverse and egocentric bunch, you should really spend some time with journalists. The union here covers editors, TV folks, photographers, staffers, freelancers, and reporters from tech to gardening to celebrities to war.
      • Re:Well... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by slipstick ( 579587 ) on Wednesday April 21, 2004 @01:09PM (#8930709)
        Unions aren't designed for the benefit of the whole only the benefit of their members. Which isn't necessarily a bad thing if your in the union but if your not, good luck finding a job.

        I may be presuming too much but I would think that a computer professional is likely smart enough to negotiate their own contract. If you aren't getting paid enough or you haven't negotiated an overtime scale than that's your fault. Why would you want to abdicate responsibility to a union anyway? Soon enough they will do something you don't like and than you have no way out.

        I totally understand that market forces may be such that computer professional salaries are low due to over supply in the market. Artificially increasing the salary through unionization won't benefit you in the long run. Already I see people here complaining about off-shoring. Just wait until you have a union, the jobs will bolt like there's no tomorrow.

        The best way to fight an over supply in your field is to train for a different field! Or simply be the best in your field.
      • Re:Well... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by killjoe ( 766577 ) on Wednesday April 21, 2004 @01:25PM (#8930960)
        If reading slashdot is any indicator IT people hate unions. Don't expect one anytime soon.

        Maybe it would be more palatable if you did not call it a union. Call is an "association" like the doctors (AMA) and the lawyers (ABA) do. It does not seem so low class when you call your union an association. After all the people in unions drive chevys people in associations drive BMWs.
  • This is new how? (Score:5, Informative)

    by ajiva ( 156759 ) on Wednesday April 21, 2004 @12:27PM (#8930093)
    I don't see how this changes anything? Most IT workers never got overtime, of course we have very flexible schedules so its a good tradeoff I suppose.
    • Re:This is new how? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Jhon ( 241832 ) on Wednesday April 21, 2004 @12:34PM (#8930202) Homepage Journal
      This is true. I received overtime until last year when I got an "offer" to go salary. I cant complain, they took my previous years base pay + all the over time I made and added an additional $15k/year and asked if I would go salary for that. Thinking "Hell yes!", I said "Hmmm... sounds reasonable -- let me talk it over with my family". Took the offer, of course.

      With a few exectpions, I can walk out on my job at the drop of a hat and pick up where I left off in the evening. Of course, there's the off 2am page/alert that has me up and at work -- or once I had to walk out of an amusement park and return to work -- but it's a fair trade, imho (and MINE is all that matters to me).

      • by LostCluster ( 625375 ) * on Wednesday April 21, 2004 @12:37PM (#8930257)
        The key thing is that you at least feel that your're getting a fair shake on the deal... no more accounting for OT in exchange for more money than you feel you would have gotten if the meter was running.

        2am pages are acceptable if they're rare and they're about real issues. It's when there starts being too many of them that things get messy.
    • by Slowtreme ( 701746 ) <> on Wednesday April 21, 2004 @12:40PM (#8930308) Homepage
      Salaried, AKA Exempt Employees, are exempt from overtime pay. If you have a contract for $60K per year and no other stipulations you should not expect additional pay for working over 40hours per week.

      Employees that are on an Hourly wage get paid hourly. This new law is saying that if your wage is over this $20 mark, you do not have a right to earn time and a half, but you will still get paid on your hourly wage. If you work 60 hours you get paid for 60, not 70 (40 + 20 + (20/2))

      Companies are required to have no more than 50% staff on Exempt status (ratio may change from state to state)
      • by LostCluster ( 625375 ) * on Wednesday April 21, 2004 @12:53PM (#8930507)
        It should be noted that if you're an overtime-exempt non-hourly employee, a whole new rulebook comes into play.

        They can't make you punch a timeclock... nor can they deduct pay for being late or leaving early. Just like working extra time can't earn you extra money for the week, they can't deduct money if you work less than fourty hours. When it comes down to it, about the only retribution they have if they don't think you're working enough is to let you go.

        I usually make a policy of demanding offsets for any time that I'm schedule to do something outside of business hours within the same week so that if anybody asks while I'm not there, there's a recent project that can be pointed at.

        If a project just can't survive without me showing up seven consecutive days... then this is an ill-designed project to begin with. Most states have a "day of rest" law that prevents employers from scheduling any seven days in a row for the same employee anyway...
      • by bjarvis354 ( 319402 ) * on Wednesday April 21, 2004 @01:17PM (#8930825) Homepage
        Just to throw my personal perspective into the mix. I am also a salaried employee and currently, I *do* get overtime. I have a union contract that defines many conditions where I am paid OT as a supervisor. I work past those limits, I get an extra 1/6th of my salary (our work week is defined as a 6 day week).

        The men and women who I supervise are hourly get ~$30/hour and get OT as well.

        In closing: IMHO Unions are good.
      • by DavidBrown ( 177261 ) on Wednesday April 21, 2004 @01:47PM (#8931281) Journal
        Sorry, but you are not entirely correct, at least in California. I won't speak for other states. California, BTW, has its own state overtime laws that will probably remain uneffected by the new federal regulations. In California, you get overtime if you work more than 8 hours per day or 40 hours per week.

        Just because you are a "salaried employee" does not mean you are exempt from overtime regulation. Salaried employees have an hourly rate - it's determined by dividing the "salary" by the number of hours worked each week.

        Essentially, all employees are subject to overtime rules by default, unless they are categorically exempt. Exempt employees include "professionals" such as lawyers, doctors, etc., and employees whose principal duties are the management and supervision of other employees. There are a number of other exceptions (I seem to recall that truck drivers, for example, are exempt. In California, many employers try to screw employees out of overtime by giving them the title of "manager" or "assistant manager", even though they remain wage slaves.

  • by Moderation abuser ( 184013 ) on Wednesday April 21, 2004 @12:27PM (#8930094)
    Don't do it.

    • by Frymaster ( 171343 ) on Wednesday April 21, 2004 @12:33PM (#8930186) Homepage Journal
      Don't do it.

      if you "don't do it" as an individual, you'll get fired. however, if you "don't do it" as a group you'll have more power. if the entire i.t. staff decides to cease work until their is fair treatment, your chances of success is greater.

      that's right: i'm talking union.

  • Overtime? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by G27 Radio ( 78394 ) on Wednesday April 21, 2004 @12:28PM (#8930096)
    You mean we were supposed to be getting overtime before? I don't ever remember getting paid overtime in the last ten years.
  • 100k (Score:5, Interesting)

    by thebra ( 707939 ) * on Wednesday April 21, 2004 @12:28PM (#8930097) Homepage Journal
    Workers may still get overtime pay if they earn between $23,660 and $100,000 and work more than 40 hours per week.
    I don't want to hear any complaints if your making over 100k a year. If your making less thank 23,660 a year I'm confused too.
  • Not news (Score:5, Informative)

    by NineNine ( 235196 ) on Wednesday April 21, 2004 @12:28PM (#8930106)
    I could be wrong, but I was first in IT back in 1996, and this was the case back then (In NC). This is most definitely not news to me. I was in IT for almost 7 years, and I never got paid a dime of overtime (but the hourly rates I was getting paid were already obscene).
  • by theMerovingian ( 722983 ) on Wednesday April 21, 2004 @12:29PM (#8930111) Journal

    You mean we were supposed to get overtime pay BEFORE they passed this law?

  • whew.. (Score:5, Funny)

    by dogas ( 312359 ) on Wednesday April 21, 2004 @12:29PM (#8930114) Homepage
    Boy, am I glad I don't make $27.63 an hour.
    • Re:whew.. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Suidae ( 162977 ) on Wednesday April 21, 2004 @12:54PM (#8930519)
      What is it with hardcoding numbers like this in laws anyway? Shouldn't they provide a forumla to calculate the value based on some economic figures that the government could maintain in a big table somewhere? Like minimum wage could be (Imed/2.5) where Imed is the median income for the region, as defined and maintained by some government department.

      They could keep track of whatever variables they need to define these numbers so that the values defined in these laws stay resonable over time and through times of high and low economic prosperity.

      The law should also define exactly what the various terms in the equation represent and the reasoning behind why they were chosen.

      We have all these computers around, we should be using them to improve the way our government works, not just by giving government workers ever-more bloated versions of Word, but by improving the process by which laws are made and maintained.

      Right now we hardcode all the values and 'recompile' every couple of years. Its dumb and a waste of taxpayer money and resources.
  • Damn... (Score:5, Informative)

    by Jin Wicked ( 317953 ) on Wednesday April 21, 2004 @12:29PM (#8930115) Homepage Journal

    For all the difficulty and struggle that comes with it, it's a good time to be a contractor or self-employed.

    They (some dept. in the govmn't) also put out a press-release type thing months ago instructing employers how to avoid overtime pay under general circumstances. Maybe someone could help me out and dig it up...

    Your government, always fighting for the little guy instead of big business. Gotta love it.

  • PHBs... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ItMustBeEsoteric ( 732632 ) <ryangilbert@gmail.cTEAom minus caffeine> on Wednesday April 21, 2004 @12:29PM (#8930121)
    "Affected employees include computer systems analysts, programmers, software engineers or anyone with a similar title."

    Admittedly, I didn't RTFA, but that statements just SCREAMS for pointy-hairs to change the job titles of the people who they don't want to have to pay for overtime.
    • Re:PHBs... (Score:3, Interesting)

      by secolactico ( 519805 )
      The title has nothing to do this. It's about white collar workers in general.

      Oddly, it also includes funeral directors and embalmers.
  • WTF? (Score:4, Funny)

    by MadBiologist ( 657155 ) on Wednesday April 21, 2004 @12:29PM (#8930123)
    Why in God's name is slashdot quoting the Oneonta Daily Twinkle? I mean... my God.. can we get a smaller town paper to read for national tech news?

    Can you tell that I lived in Oneonta for a while?


  • I don't get it (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Soporific ( 595477 ) on Wednesday April 21, 2004 @12:30PM (#8930128)
    Where did they get the $455 weekly and $27.63 hourly figures from? If you are getting paid $27.63 an hour, chances are you are clearing that $455 easily and if you are making $455 (after tax) weekly you are getting paid about $13-14 bucks an hour.

  • by Ian Wolf ( 171633 ) on Wednesday April 21, 2004 @12:30PM (#8930134) Homepage
    Oh yeah, thats that "time and a half" thing I use to get before I was salaried.

    I've been salaried so long now, I stopped lamenting paid overtime ages ago. Unfortunately, this means my wife's already meager paycheck is gonna get leaner.

  • by BetaJim ( 140649 ) on Wednesday April 21, 2004 @12:31PM (#8930143)
    On NPR yesterday it was reported that only about 100,000 people would be affected by the new changes. If IT folks aren't eligible then that reported number is much too low.

    This sucks. I think that if you get an hourly wage you should get overtime pay, regardless of any other factors, if you work overtime.

  • "New" rule? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Rosco P. Coltrane ( 209368 ) on Wednesday April 21, 2004 @12:31PM (#8930150)
    new rules that seem to specifically target IT workers and other white collar workers for exemption from overtime pay.

    That "new" rule is as old as IT : if you do your legal 40 hours per week in an IT company, you're out of here faster than you can say "antidisestablishmentarianism".

    In the last company I worked for, a minimum of 60 hours per week was expected, sort of like an unwritten rule, often a lot more during death marches. I was well paid of course, and bonuses were huge, but in reality I had a really shitty hourly wage.

    So what's new here? just that it's now a written rule that IT workers are slave workers. The only thing this does is diminish even further the impression of "privileged workers" non-IT folks have of us, and that's too bad because that's about the only glamour of the job.
    • Re:"New" rule? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by bc90021 ( 43730 ) * <> on Wednesday April 21, 2004 @12:38PM (#8930280) Homepage
      Well, I work for a tech company, and they expect me to work sixty hours a week too... the only difference is that I don't. I work the forty. At 5pm, I get up, pack my computer, and leave.

      It's that simple. I'm not getting paid overtime, so I'm not doing overtime. Granted, I'm "on call" once every other week, so I get woken up sometimes, but frankly, I just don't understand why people think they have to do that extra 20 hours. Do they give you more money? Do they come over and help clean your apartment? No. So why do it for them?

      They are providing you a job, and as long as you do that job, then "expectations" are just that.
  • by gevmage ( 213603 ) on Wednesday April 21, 2004 @12:31PM (#8930156) Homepage
    The article says: "Chao said about 107,000 white-collar workers earning $100,000 or more a year could lose their eligibility."

    People in that salary bracket are being paid hourly? I had always assumed that anywhere in the 50+ per year range is a salaried position, and overtime isn't an issue anyway, because you don't keep a time clock.
  • by uberjoe ( 726765 ) on Wednesday April 21, 2004 @12:31PM (#8930159)
    Another astounding success in the Bush Administration's No Billionaire Left Behind program.
  • by lukewarmfusion ( 726141 ) on Wednesday April 21, 2004 @12:32PM (#8930166) Homepage Journal
    I'm on salary. Which means I'm on-call 24/7, expected to do overtime if needed, and can be fired at any time for any reason.

    If I'm working as an hourly employee, I'm going to bill my boss for every hour I spend working. At my full rate. If I'm lucky, maybe they'll agree to pay me time and a half for anything over 40 hours (or some other predetermined limit).

    They can't make me work overtime hours and not pay me, unless I'm salary. Then I wouldn't expect it anyway.
  • What about SB 88? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Mr.Surly ( 253217 ) on Wednesday April 21, 2004 @12:32PM (#8930168)
    Which explicitly states that IT workers making less than $83,000 anually must be paid overtime?

    This was signed into (California) law in 2000, I believe.

    SB 88 []

    From the bill:

    This bill, except as specified, would exempt a professional employee in the computer software field from this overtime compensation requirement if the employee is primarily engaged in work that is intellectual or creative, the employee's hourly rate of pay is not less than $41.00, and the employee meets other requirements.
  • by jkubecki ( 26300 ) on Wednesday April 21, 2004 @12:32PM (#8930175) Homepage
    Once again, typically for Slashdot, the headline is very inaccurate. It's not that IT workers aren't eligible for overtime pay, it's just that it's no longer guaranteed. If your employer wants to pay you overtime, that's still their prerogative, not to mention a good idea for retention. Believe, there are folks out there earning overtime for IT work that this will not affect at all.
  • Math troubles? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by pknoll ( 215959 ) <<gro.hsifeparg> <ta> <kp.todhsals>> on Wednesday April 21, 2004 @12:33PM (#8930191)
    Computer employees are not guaranteed overtime pay if they make $455 a week, or if their hourly rate is $27.63.

    $455 a week is $23,660 yearly.

    $27.63 an hour is $57,470 yearly, which is already close to Federal overtime exemption (if not hitting it exactly, I don't recall the current figure).

    So, why the $34,000 discrepancy?

  • by Colonel Angus ( 752172 ) on Wednesday April 21, 2004 @12:34PM (#8930204)
    ...well, perhaps not all of Canada, but I have been in IT now for 6 years and never once have received any overtime.

    My current job has the best "overtime" policy that I've had thus far, in that lieu time off is calculated on overtime hours * 1.5. So we get time and a half OFF for the time we work. Not bad. Gives me at *least* one day off every 3 weeks.

    So I have more time off, and no extra income to fork over to the gov't to misappropriate.
  • AFL-CIO story (Score:5, Informative)

    by blakespot ( 213991 ) on Wednesday April 21, 2004 @12:34PM (#8930207) Homepage
    It's terrible stuff. We need to get this guy out of office. s04202004.cfm []


  • by cexshun ( 770970 ) on Wednesday April 21, 2004 @12:36PM (#8930238) Homepage
    In other news, the Department of Labor is experiencing strange outages with their network, website, and all IT related systems.
  • by Frennzy ( 730093 ) on Wednesday April 21, 2004 @12:36PM (#8930246) Homepage
    PHB: Mr. Frennzy, we'd like to offer you employment. Your base wage will be $27.65 per hour.

    Me: No WAY man! I won't take a penny over $27.62 per hour.

    Thankfully, it's not an issue if you're self-employed.
  • by swschrad ( 312009 ) on Wednesday April 21, 2004 @12:38PM (#8930286) Homepage Journal
    nothing will change if the persons in government don't.
  • by four12 ( 129324 ) on Wednesday April 21, 2004 @12:39PM (#8930298)
    I've worked for 17 years in the IT field, and all but three of those years have been as a "salaried" employee.

    If I am "salaried", why do I have to fill out a timesheet? Why, when I only have 38 hours on my timesheet, do I get paid for 38 hours? Conversely, when I have 68 hour, I only get paid for 40?

    I've brought this up as "illegal" on a couple occasions, and even cited the state's labour laws, only to have it thrown back at me.

    THIS is where we need to make some reforms too...
  • by blueZhift ( 652272 ) on Wednesday April 21, 2004 @12:46PM (#8930414) Homepage Journal
    Maybe there's an opportunity here to get our lives in order. As some have already posted, if you don't get overtime pay for overtime work, then don't do it. Well, let's ask ourselves why there was a need to work overtime in the first place. Maybe it's time to slow things down to a pace where all of this overtime in not needed in the first place.

    The bosses in the corporate offices cannot have it both ways. If they want insanely high productivity, they are going to have to pay for it. Even workers in India will eventually cost as much as here for the same work output. So let's stop this madness and live our lives like human beings instead of 24/7 machines. Let's spend more time with our friends and family. Or perhaps more time actually getting friends and family! ;-) We may not get richer, but we will be happier. And if the boss man don't like it, screw him! He's gonna lay you off eventually anyway, so why sacrifice your life for him?

  • by dieman ( 4814 ) on Wednesday April 21, 2004 @12:53PM (#8930500) Homepage
    "The exemption for employees in computer occupations does not include employees engaged in the operation of computers or in the manufacture, repair or maintenance of computer hardware and related equipment."

    Systems Administrators are still non-exempt. Programmers with 'high skill level' are not.
  • by randomizer ( 746294 ) on Wednesday April 21, 2004 @01:01PM (#8930596)
    I never understand how negatively so many people view unions. This is exactly why individuals have to join together to protect themselves. If one worker objects to unfair labour practices the boss can choose to ingnore him or fire him. If the IT workers of America refuse to work under unfair conditions then ... 1. Their jobs go offshore more quickly (maybe); or, 2. The PHBs relocate to right-to-bugger-workers states (perhaps); or, 3. The PHB negotiates, a compromise is reached and, while nobody gets to declare victory, a truce can be arranged (sadly less likely than ever before due to workers neglect of the need to protect their own). Obviously the demonization of unions by owners that has somehow been sold to credulous workers makes #3 unlikely in most of the Unscupulous States of America. Until electors figure out which side their shrinking bread is buttered on (repeat after me: my interests are not the same as those of the rich) and that they actually have the power to change things (though picking a Dem over a Rep doesn't change much) then you can all just bend over (unless you are rich, in which case -- fsck at will).
  • Unions? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by tehanu ( 682528 ) on Wednesday April 21, 2004 @01:10PM (#8930719)
    One has to ask why IT workers don't form a union or if they don't like the idea of a union, at least a Professional Organisation like doctors and lawyers have to fight for their rights? Right now, the only IT lobby groups represent your employers ie. the big IT companies. Remember, government doesn't hear anyone who doesn't have a big enough lobby group. Government is a matter of give and take between different interest groups and since there's a finite money to go around (yes, even with the heavy government debt) if you're not one of the winners, you're one of the losers. It was fine to be free-wheelers during the dot-com boom, but now in the down-turn you need to really have an organised voice.
  • by hng_rval ( 631871 ) on Wednesday April 21, 2004 @01:13PM (#8930762)
    Just because the law no longer mandates 1.5 overtime pay for certain jobs does not mean that you cannot request it in your contract.

    If you are about to accept a job offer and they do not pay 1.5 for overtime, ask for it. If they refuse, suck it up or find another job. You don't need the government to mandate that they pay 1.5.
  • anti-union bias? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by ndunn ( 171784 ) on Wednesday April 21, 2004 @01:23PM (#8930924)

    I'm not exactly sure where all of the anti-union bias comes from. Screenwriters and actors have a union, and they are also well-paid (most of the time) and creative people.

    I also think that the argument that we can negotiate our own contracts is equally naive. Sure, there are some that can, but I wouldn't say that social skills and negotiation are well-known geek skills outside of MMRPGs.

    The only disadvantage of unions, as was eluded to earlier was the whole factor of diverse employment. However, that doesn't bar places like MS, Apple, Sun, Adobe, IBM, etc., etc., from joining unions. This doesn't mean people sit on their buts while unions continually strike, but it does mean you have someone negotiating your benefits and work week for you, collectively, as well as a network of peers.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 21, 2004 @02:06PM (#8931531)
    Ten (unordered) Rules for Success:

    1. Know your shit. If you're a sysadmin who can't make an Ethernet cable or a programmer who can't build a workstation, you deserve to be at the mercy of others.

    2. Know others' shit. You just gonna sit there while the PFY brings down the intranet?

    3. Be your word. Every discrepancy between what you say and what you do will be used against you. This does not mean that your word must be intelligible to anyone but you. Make credible threats and follow through.

    4. Incompetents must fear you, whether they work above you, with you, or below you.

    5. Everyone is your adversary until proven otherwise. This does not mean you should be on the offensive, but you can't let your guard down. Trust no one with your reputation.

    6. Take no shit, give shit only when your case is strong. It's hard to implement (4) without giving shit, but your aim had better be true. Sometimes it's better to bide your time.

    7. Make no friends in haste. Lunch is ok but never, never go drinking with an incompetent. It just makes it harder to fire them later (*sob* I thought we were friends!).

    8. Be humble. The more bad-ass you say you are, the more the probability of us having a drink approaches zero.

    9. Carry your own insurance and retirement, even if you are on salary. It's so easy to walk out the door when your benefits are secure, and they know it. Don't forget to negotiate for extra compensation!

    10. Punctuality. Some deserve it, some don't. Learn the difference.

  • by forevermore ( 582201 ) on Wednesday April 21, 2004 @02:45PM (#8931966) Homepage
    How is this any different from the overtime laws that Bush managed to push through? Or is this the same law set just reworded? The actual new laws do a lot more than just hurt IT workers. Although some of this has apparently been ammended [], the original proposal exempted anyone with a college degree, nurses, police, etc. This is a bad law.
  • by SillySlashdotName ( 466702 ) on Wednesday April 21, 2004 @03:23PM (#8932381)
    I worked as an EMT with a county ambulance service for 10 years in the 80s (1980 - 1990) and we went 'round and 'round with the government body we worked for about the overtime issue. They tried to use the FLSA [] 7(k) and 13(b)(20) sections to exempt us from overtime for time when we might have been asleep (we almost never actually were allowed to sleep during that time, I remember one time we were out polishing the ambulance wheels at 3:30 because there was no calls at the time and the crew chief didn't want anyone to think they let us sleep on the job...) - so they were going to require us to be in the station house for 24 hours, but pay us for 16, even if we were working non-stop all 24 hours.

    Of course, we were not very happy at the prospect, and complained loudly!

    We were then routinely dispatched to fire scenes for 'standby' so that the county government could try to argue that we were 'fire fighting personnel' and fell under that exemption. When that didn't fly with the workers either (and the law was pointed out to the county commissioners), a LARGE chunk of back pay was paid.

    The current law requires overtime for anything over 212 hours in a 28 day period for fire fighting personnel - for anyone else covered by the FLSA it is any hours over 160 in 28 days.

    For you or I, that means working slightly over 10.5 hours a day every work day (5 days per week) for 4 weeks - WITHOUT GETTING OVERTIME PAY. (by the way, I am salaried and don't get overtime, anyway - but I do get compensatory time off...)

    So when the article mentions the overtime protection already afforded to Fire, Police, and EMS workers, it is deceptive, as they are NOT paid under the same rules as other people.

    My take on this is this is another "business friendly - fsck everyone else" move by the Bush administration. I don't like it.

"It might help if we ran the MBA's out of Washington." -- Admiral Grace Hopper