Employers generally have a budget amount for employee payments.
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A few different people have brought up the possibility that the new rules will cause employers to cut positions. I’m not going to argue that no positions whatsoever will be cut, but I can’t believe that the fallout will be anywhere near as great as Paul Ryan et al are predicting. After all, the recession already caused most employers to levy layoffs. Most businesses are already staffed by a skeleton crew, and many of these employees are forced to work more than 40 hours per week so their employers don’t have to hire anyone else. Overall, except in jobs where automation is taking over (and those jobs wouldn’t have lasted much longer anyway), employers literally can’t cut more positions. If anything, they will have to hire *more* employees since hiring one new employee to work 40 hours at a regular salary costs less than asking current employees to work 40 extra hours at time-and-a-half pay.

So when these (long overdue) overtime changes go into effect, there may be some changes (Lower profit margins? Lower salaries for employees who will work fewer hours?), a mass disappearance of currently staffed positions should not be one of them.

And if you want to think of it this way, these changes should’ve been made decades ago. If the government refuses to make a few tough choices about employment regulations now, then eventually, unions will grow in strength, strikes will start to occur in droves, etc. The U.S. is reaching the point as a society that the current state of life for many workers (or would-be workers) is untenable and will cause a severe backlash that could be worse for businesses and the economy than whatever government-mandated changes to the current system that the Obama administration (and the future Clinton administration?) has in mind.

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