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NRF ‘astounded’ by Labor Department overtime decision


Washington, D.C. -- The Labor Department is not extending the comment period on the Obama administration’s proposal to expand overtime pay. Its decision drew a no-holds barred response from the nation’s largest retail organization.

“Today’s announcement by the Department of Labor that it will not extend the comment period for a flawed proposal that has such broad, negative implications for retail businesses large and small across America is astounding stated David French, senior VP for government relations, NRF. “However, no one should be surprised when you consider this administration’s continued assault on business in deference to their friends in organized labor.”

French described the proposal as being driven by a political agenda that “will ultimately cost jobs, slow the economy and shutter Main Street businesses that cannot afford mandate after mandate written behind closed doors and handed down by a federal bureaucracy that doesn’t understand how to run a successful enterprise, earn a dollar rather than tax one or even balance a budget.”

“In its rush to provide feel-good talking points for Labor Day as opposed to writing constructive policy through a process of inclusion, the DOL continues to deconstruct the only engine for growth in a struggling economy,” French said.

In July, NRF said the overtime proposal was too complex for businesses to respond by the DOL’s deadline, set for Friday, and asked for an extension until November.

A study conducted for NRF by research firm Oxford Economics found that the proposal, which would grant overtime eligibility to workers making up to $970 a week rather than the current $455 a week, would cost the restaurant and retail industries alone $8.4 billion a year in added wages if fully implemented. But the study said many employers would offset most of the cost by reducing hours or benefits or using more part-time workers. Nonetheless, employers would see an estimated $745 million in administrative costs even if workers saw no increase in take-home pay.

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