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Labor secretary defends new overtime rules

By   /   Friday, May 20th, 2016  /   Comments Off on Labor secretary defends new overtime rules

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Labor Secretary Thomas Perez, left, and Bernie Kohn of Bloomberg News at the Society of American Business Editors and Writers conference in Washington, D.C.

Labor Secretary Thomas Perez, left, and Bernie Kohn of Bloomberg News at the Society of American Business Editors and Writers conference in Washington, D.C.

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Labor Secretary Thomas Perez mounted a vigorous defense of the administration’s new overtime rules, saying objections by universities and retailers are overblown.

In remarks to business journalists, Perez said the rules, which go into effect Dec. 1, are designed to play catch up with standards that were “manipulated” in 2004. He said that “predictions of doom and gloom are just that,” referring to rules that will raise the minimum salary for overtime exemption from around $25,000 per year to more than $47,000 and index those levels to inflation.

Perez said the rules create an environment where “middle class jobs pay middle class wages.”

He described the new overtime rule as part of a broader effort on the labor front that included raising the minimum wage, providing paid leave and toughening standards for financial planners advising retirement plans.

Perez predicted that comprehensive immigration reform will take place in the next administration. He said it is “dumb politics” for the GOP to demonize immigrants and settle for a 25 percent share of the Latino vote in presidential elections.

“When you do that you are on the outside looking in,” he said.

• Contact Henry Dubroff at [email protected]

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