HughPickens.com writes: Fran Sussner Rodgers writes in the NY Times that a little-noticed change in the American workplace is about to occur. Later this month the Department of Labor is expected to announce an adjustment to the Fair Labor Standards Act raising the salary threshold for overtime from $23,660 per year to at least double that threshold. In 1975, the last year the threshold was significantly raised, 60 percent of salaried workers fell within the requirement for overtime pay while today, only 8 percent do. The new requirement should be a welcome change for millions of American workers.
But the change also speaks to an issue that affects everyone, whether eligible for overtime or not — the clash between the finite amount of time employees actually have versus the desire of employers to treat time as an inexhaustible resource. Employees in the United States currently work more hours than workers in any of the world's 10 largest economies except Russia. When everything over 40 hours is free to the employer, the temptation to demand more is almost irresistible. But for most employees, the ones exempt from overtime rules, their managers have little incentive to look for ways to use their time more efficiently. "We are a tired, stressed and overworked nation, which has many negative consequences for our personal health and the care of our children. As a nation, we work harder and longer than almost all of our competitors, and much of that work is uncompensated," writes Rodgers. "Time is our personal currency. We parcel it out, hour by hour, to meet the demands placed on us. We all pay a steep price, as individuals and as a nation, when we can't meet our most important obligations."
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