I imagine that a few businesses will be casualties of this change, but unfortunately, someone has to lose whenever changes or made (or even sometimes when things stay the same for long enough, like the employees who have been working for more than 40 hours per week due to the overtime laws not changing, and those unemployed people who were not hired because employees working overtime for free effectively prevented their employers from needing to hire others). And the loss of those businesses is tragic for those business owners. Still, I very much doubt that the economy overall will be the worse for this bill. It’s worth noting, after all, that employees who are working an average of 7 fewer hours a week will have spare time that they will need to fill by purchasing more goods. And those employees who receive time-an-a-half pay will at the very least have more disposable income to spend, meaning that companies who sell goods and services will have to hire more employees.
As for whether or not businesses are holding out on their employees’ salaries, I think that some are not, but many — particularly the larger ones — are. After all, why would a business who *could* afford to pay more to its employees actually pay them more unless doing so would bring the business a better quality of employee, and the business truly needed that better quality? I can’t imagine that many businesses pay higher salaries from kindness.
Still, there may be ways to mitigate the fallout of the rule change on smaller businesses. For instance, small businesses carry a higher proportion of the tax load for all businesses than is fair, and many struggle because of it. If larger businesses had to pay more/ were prevented from hiding their assets offshore, then the smaller businesses could pay less without the total amount of taxes collected falling too low.