Bill Would End Overtime For More IT Workers

A bill introduced in Congress that would eliminate overtime for more IT workers isn’t generating much love in the tech world.

The legislation, sponsored by Sen. Kay Hagan, D-N.C.,  seeks to expand the class of workers exempt from the Fair Labor Standards Act, the law that requires workers be paid time and a half if they work more than 40 hours a week.

Ars Technica reports, the current exemption covers:

“any employee who is a computer systems analyst, computer programmer, software engineer, or other similarly skilled worker,” whose primary duties fall under categories including “systems analysis techniques and procedures,” and “design, documentation, testing, creation, or modification of computer programs.”

The new language, according to Federal Computer Week, would expand the wording to include duties related to:

“computers, information systems, components, networks, software, hardware, databases, security, Internet, intranet or websites,” whether it is analysts, programmers, engineers, designers or developers.

The exemption covers salaried workers—no surprise—but also those who make at least $27.63 an hour. Matt Simmons, a private industry IT system administrator who blogs at Standalone Sysadmin, did his own survey to find out whether there really are that many hourly IT workers. He was surprised to find that 26 percent of U.S. respondents to his survey were hourly, Government Technology reports, though it doesn’t say how many people took part.

There’s lots of interesting comments on all these posts.

The Computer Professionals Update Act, or CPU Act, as it’s called, was sent to the House Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions. As govtrack.us notes, most bills never make it out of committee.

Comments

  1. BY Pat Saison says:

    WTF, why would Senator Kay Hagan or anyone even bother sponsoring something like this, unless s/he lacks something better to do with work (and life).

  2. BY Fred Bosick says:

    No, Senator Hagan is only doing exactly what big tech employers want, and “earning” those campaign contributions. It’s not enough that the executive ranks enjoy incomes far out of proportion to their utility, they have to try and continue to rip off people who really do work for a living.

  3. BY Joseph says:

    This is typical of politicians in general and Democrats in particular, sticking their beaks where they don’t belong. You can bet that there is some kind of tax or “wage leveling” scheme right behind this absurdity. IT people are not fools, as she apparently presumes, we know you are up to no good. The only question is what kind of “no good” are you up to?

  4. BY Ian McIsaac says:

    I am not a tech person whatsoever, but I stumbled upon this site while doing research for my Human Resource Management final. If this bill passed, how many employers would switch from having salary workers to start giving more hourly rates? Oh and a hypothetical situation for my final: What would be the best way to hire 25 IT personnel in the next three months to develop a GPS coffee mug? I am saying online sites like this would be best. Any thoughts?

  5. BY Michelle says:

    I like to think this will be rejected in the end. I find the earning limit a bit odd. Why choose $27.63? I’m also troubled by the computer-related bit. Most jobs require hours of keyboard and mouse time but aren’t in the technology field. Singling out the tech industry doesn’t make sense…

  6. BY R. Emmett O'Ryan says:

    Could this be a ruse to get IT workers to start to unionize? I do not know if Senator Hagan is a friend or foe to organized labor. If she is a friend then her actions just netted a few hundred thousand potential members for organized labor.

    But then again it would actually be somewhat cool, having the Teamsters and the Longshoremen’s Union supporting those of us in the IT workplace… I have this image of the 1980 film “My Bodyguard.” Hmmm, members of the AFL-CIO or Teamsters in the role of Linderman. Something to ponder.

  7. BY Joe Pond says:

    So the real question whould be how do we turn the bill around and get it so the employer cannot force IT folks to work more than 40 hrs without getting overtime. And to also eliminate unpaid on-call time.

  8. BY R Mcloud says:

    We already have enough problems with companies off shoring IT Jobs. Sure I think we should get paid for OT but this may just cause more of our jobs to be sent off shore. We need to be doing things that bring those jobs back before we ask OT.

  9. BY TPaine says:

    “Let them eat cake”!

  10. BY Rob Lowe says:

    This is actually a very good bill.

    Realize that by “ending OT” it just means that those folks would not be required by law to be paid time and a half. They would still get paid, they would just be paid at their regular rate. As for the obscure number of $27.63 it had to do with a multiplier on the minimum wage from many years ago and the number stuck.

    Why is this a smart bill? Folks that make $30 an hour (or $50 or $80) would of course love to get time and a half but the reality is that is incredibly cost prohibitive to companies. It is worse because many of those folks we are talking about work through an agency so the agency is billing them at say, 50% above their wage, and then billing time and a half. So that means if a company wants someone who makes $40 an hour but is billed at $60 an hour to work overtime it will cost them $90 an hour. They simply aren’t going to do that unless they have no other choice.

    With this change it will allow companies to more easily let folks work overtime and thus get more money in their pocket. A person can work 50 hours and get paid for 50 instead of being forced to keep their hours at 40 despite there being more work to do and the person being interested in making that extra 10 hours worth of comp. The current scenario basically forces the company to hire more people and hope they get equal levels of productivity or to simply put more pressure on employees to get their work done in 40 hours. It also puts more pressure on employers simply to offshore their technical needs where none of these outdated laws apply.

    Time and a half for OT is really something that shouldn’t apply to people that make above $15 an hour, maybe $20. It simply creates bad behaviors both for the employee and employer. Straight time OT is a much better solution. I can’t tell you how many problems the current OT rules cause for technology workers. The goal should be a fair wage for time worked while allowing companies and employees to be as productive as possible.

    Oh, and one other thing. There is absolutely nothing in the law preventing companies from continuing to pay time and a half OT if they so desire or stopping employees from demanding it. It simply allows for it not to happen if both parties agree.

    • BY TruthSeer says:

      It appears you are assuming most IT jobs are paid hourly, which is not true.
      Most are salaried…
      By making it so employers no longer have to pay overtime at all for most IT,
      means you work an unlimited amount of hours and receive the exact same wage as working 40.

      Its just another way for people to reward you for 4-8 years of college and multiple years of experience to then work 70-90 hours a week and only get paid for 40 (salary).
      IT often isn’t like a normal 9 to 5, it is 24/7 and invades everything, from time off to vacations.

      Don’t like it? Quit or be fired and be unemployed if this idiotic bill passes.

  11. BY unix guy says:

    End the State.

  12. BY Walter Miller says:

    The real reason the bill is introduced in Congress is to allow companies to even further cut staffing and forcing the remainder to work longer hours. Should this bill pass it will not provide an incentive for Management to control overtime cost. This is another means for eliminating (firing) those who are unwilling to work long hours now with the added insult of not rewarding them for working more hours. There is no such thing as the Fair Standards Act age, sex, and race discrimination is rampant and very little is done to change that. Even equal pay for equal work does not exist. On top of that in states where you are an employee at will, the company needs no reason to terminate you. Lastly in regards to Matt Simmons who did a survey and found 26% were hourly IT workers this comes as no surprise for many IT departments are outsourced. They are paid typically $10 to $15 hour. I am surprised not to find that number higher.

  13. BY Chris Lum says:

    I’m not sure if there is an answer to this overtime problem. It’s not like most of us are getting paid for the normal additional hours. It was nice when we did, but the consistency has been unreliable. The problem I see is that our jobs are being sent over seas and I don’t see a way to stop it (Senator Hagan should be concerned with subsidizing companies who are farming our work over seas). Asking for overtime pay will only make employers want to farm out our work at a lower cost. What they don’t understand is the comp time and vacation days we end up eating because of job requirements. They don’t understand the value of instant 24/7/365 support. They don’t understand the value of speaking to someone fluent in the English language. I kind of think that this bill is a weak attempt to stop the blood flow from lost jobs.

  14. BY Jerry Ridge says:

    We all have our point. Yes labor overseas is cheaper, but you can’t virtually service customers at every level. The economics of the problem, in my mind, is cost of living. I use to work two jobs, if I am not paid over time then I lose that freedom. If I don’t get overtime how can I afford inflation.

    If you don’t want to pay your employees, for their work, than don’t demand the work be done at an accelerated pace. It always seems to be a one way street, to employees and employers. I think you should be able to fire an employee if it is your company. The wage issue is why unions came to be, Workers would bond and refuse to work if the requirements were abusive. It seems now Unions are abusive…

    We need to come to a higher state of mind, but abuse is where we are…here and NOW!

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