AP Exclusive: Labor Department Offers Advice on How to Cut Labor Costs - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

01/06/04 - Washington

AP Exclusive: Labor Department Offers Advice on How to Cut Labor Costs

The Labor Department is giving employers tips on how to avoid paying overtime to newly eligible low-income workers.

That advice comes even as the department touts the 895 million dollars in increased wages it says those workers would be guaranteed from wage reforms.

The options for employers include cutting workers' hourly wages and adding the overtime to equal the original salary.

A department spokesman says the agency is "not saying anybody should do any of this." Instead, the Labor Department says it's merely listing well-known choices available to employers, even under current law.

The tips are included in a summary of the Labor Department's plan published last March.

Over a million low-income workers will become eligible under new rules expected to be finalized early this year.

Overtime pay for low-income workers has been a selling tool for the Bush administration in trying to ease concerns in Congress about millions of higher-paid workers becoming ineligible.

Copyright 2003 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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