The White House, President George W. Bush Click to print this document

Excerpts from the Press Briefing by Scott McClellan, January 6, 2004 (Full Transcript)

QUESTION: Scott, the Labor Department is apparently offering advice on how to cut costs of low income -- newly eligible low income workers into the work force, and that includes overtime pay. Some are saying that as clearly -- just abusing these low income workers and taking their overtime pay. What does the White House --

MR. McCLELLAN: One, I think you're talking about an economic analysis that's required under the rulemaking process, what you're specifically referring to there. And, remember, this is a proposed rule -- the proposed rule by the Department of Labor would restore overtime protections that have eroded over five decades to millions of white-collar workers who deserve overtime protection today and are not protected by the current rules. And this proposal would guarantee overtime to 1.3 million more low wage workers.

It would help simplify the rules and make them more relevant to our modern work force. It will enable the Department of Labor to be better equipped to enforce the law to protect more workers. It will enable the Department of Labor to make sure that workers better understand their rights under the law, and that employers understand their obligations and pay their employees properly.

QUESTION: So let me get this right. If you work beyond your required hours, it's okay for the employer to take away --

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, first of all, this is relating to white-collar workers. Let me be very clear on that. The proposed overtime --

QUESTION: -- white-collar or blue-collar --

MR. McCLELLAN: The proposed overtime rule does not impact hourly workers or blue-collar workers, and that would include police and firefighters, nor would it impact the status of nurses or first responders.

QUESTION: But, Scott, just because it's white-collar, it's still taking away overtime. It doesn't matter if it's white-collar, blue-collar --

MR. McCLELLAN: No, no, I just pointed out that these overtime protections would guarantee overtime to 1.3 million more low-wage workers. I think the specific question you asked about in the beginning was just an economic analysis that's required under the law to provide employers with options to comply with that law.

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