Tom Harkin went on a rampage last year, spending most of the summer using his legislative muscle trying to derail the August 2004 implementation of the Fair Labor Standards Act's (FLSA) new regulations. It wasn't a surprise to the Republicans. The Democratic senator from Iowa is known for his liberal views, and openly takes pride in going to bat for America's working people.
That's why Harkin was so mad. He claimed the new regulations were "a shameful attack on the 40-hour work week, purposely designed to strip millions of workers of their right to overtime pay." Employees across the country feared their overtime protection was about to disappear.
Daniel Brennan came face to face with this ambiguity when--as the sole in-house lawyer for Identify Software Inc., a North Carolina-based software company--he was charged with ensuring his company complied with the new regulations.
"We had a few administrative people we really had to look at closely," Brennan says. "My first thought was that we were going to have to reclassify a lot of employees from exempt to nonexempt. And I was going to have to assess what the increased cost of having to pay overtime would be."
And if all else fails, then don't do a thing.
"I advise employers to revert back to what they were doing under the old regulations if they are really confused," Weiner says. "The rules changed, but not that much."