Bill would limit overtime pay for high-tech employees

Proponents say law would prevent jobs from moving overseas

A controversial bill has been introduced that would limit the pay for many high-tech workers. 

The federal legislation, S. 1747: Computer Professionals Update Act, which U.S. Senator Kay Hagan, D-N.C., introduced in November 2011, would expand the types of technology workers who are not currently entitled to automatic overtime pay. Under the new bill, duties that would exclude high-tech workers include “securing, configuring, integrating and debugging computer systems,” Hagan said when she introduced the bill.

According to The Kansas City Star, many workers see the bill as nothing more than a way to take money out of their pockets. “I am not an indentured servant. I’m allowed to have a life,” Jim Kerick told the newspaper. Although Kerick is now a salaried worker in the tech industry, he had a high-tech position in the 1990s in which he worked 90-hour weeks, the Star reported, and he says the bill would be a disservice to high-tech workers that rely on overtime pay as he once did. “We’re essentially devaluing the skills of technology workers,” he told the Star.

Many high-tech companies, however, would disagree. Supporters of the bill, such as IBM and Intel, say it is a necessary step in preventing many of these jobs from being outsourced overseas to workers who are much less expensive.

Current U.S. labor law requires that high-tech employees who are paid a fixed annual salary of at least $23,600 or an hourly pay rate of $27.63 and perform certain job duties such as systems analysis and programming are not entitled to overtime pay.

Read more about the bill at The Kansas City Star.

 

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Cathleen Flahardy

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