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Overtime Changes Could Hurt Local Businesses - KOAM TV 7

Overtime Changes Could Hurt Local Businesses

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JOPLIN, MISSOURI -

The Obama administration has issued a new rule to expand overtime pay. It's intended to boost earnings for the middle and lower classes. But some say it'll hurt small businesses.

Workers assembling safe rooms at Atlas Safe Rooms may soon see a change in their schedule and paychecks. But it's not necessarily a change management wants to make.

“It does create a lot of challenges for how we do business, and how we compensate people. In a lot of ways this rule, and I have to study the entire thing, but at first glance and after reviewing it, it’s not necessarily a positive thing for us or our employees,” says John Hunter, the vice president of Atlas Safe Rooms.

Jasen Jones with the Workforce Investment Board of Southwest Missouri says the nationwide changes in overtime pay could increase the paychecks of some salaried workers.

But for smaller businesses, “you may see some salaried employees be converted to hourly employees or you may just see a cut in hours altogether,” says Jones.

At Atlas they say the goal is to not let the changes affect their bottom line, while protecting their employees. They will have to determine if they are able to increase the wages of some employees to be above the new $47,500 threshold but several salaried employees will have to be switched to hourly pay, something they're not looking forward to.

“The way my job works, there can be a lot of hours put in 1 week and maybe not so many other times and what I like about the salary is having that steady paycheck and knowing what I’m into each week, it helps me manage my bills better,” says Austin Surver, the production manager at Atlas.

Switching from salary to hourly could also be seen as a demotion for some.

While the changes create a sense of uncertainty, "we try to treat our employees well enough, I mean they're our number 1 resource, so if we're not taking care of them and were abusing, you know making them work more hours than what’s fair based on their compensation, we assume they're going to leave us, so if we have good employees we're not going to let that happen,” says Hunter.

The changes go into effect in December.

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