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Please begin with an informative title:

How would you feel if a United States Senator introduced a bill that made it legal for your employer to get away with not paying you for your overtime work?

What would you say to a Senator who was actively working to take money out of the pockets of the 99 percent and hand it over to Big Corporations, at once taking food off our tables and further damaging the already weakened economy?

Sadly, these are not rhetorical questions. Senator Kay Hagan, Democrat from North Carolina, introduced legislation in October that seeks to amend the Fair Labor Standards Act to place many new classifications of employees, not only directly in the IT field, but "including, but not limited to, work related to computers" into the category that makes them exempt from receiving overtime pay.

Here is the text of the bill, with further clarification following. [I have interspersed the current wording with the proposed new language for comparison.]

1st Session
S. 1747

To amend the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 to modify provisions relating to the exemption for computer systems analysts, computer programmers, software engineers, or other similarly skilled workers.


October 20, 2011

Mrs. HAGAN (for herself, Mr. ISAKSON, Mr. ENZI, and Mr. BENNET) introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions


To amend the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 to modify provisions relating to the exemption for computer systems analysts, computer programmers, software engineers, or other similarly skilled workers.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,


This Act may be cited as the ‘Computer Professionals Update Act’ or the ‘CPU Act’.


Section 13(a)(17) of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (29 U.S.C. 213(a)(17)) is amended to read as follows:

[New language] ‘(17) any employee working in a computer or information technology occupation (including, but not limited to, work related to computers, information systems, components, networks, software, hardware, databases, security, internet, intranet, or websites) as an analyst, programmer, engineer, designer, developer, administrator, or other similarly skilled

[Current legislation reads: (17) any employee who is a computer systems analyst, computer programmer, software engineer, or other similarly skilled worker, whose primary duty is—]

[New language] ‘(A) the application of systems, network or database analysis techniques and procedures, including consulting with users, to determine or modify hardware, software, network, database, or system functional specifications;

[Current legislation reads: (A) the application of systems analysis techniques and procedures, including consulting with users, to determine hardware, software, or system functional specifications;]

[New language] ‘(B) the design, development, documentation, analysis, creation, testing, securing, configuration, integration, debugging, modification of computer or information technology, or enabling continuity of systems and applications;

[Current legislation reads: (B) the design, development, documentation, analysis, creation, testing, or modification of computer systems or programs, including prototypes, based on and related to user or system design specifications;]

[New language] ‘(C) directing the work of individuals performing duties described in subparagraph (A) or (B), including training such individuals or leading teams performing such duties; or

[Current legislation reads: (C) the design, documentation, testing, creation, or modification of computer programs related to machine operating systems; or]

‘(D) a combination of duties described in subparagraphs (A), (B), and (C), the performance of which requires the same level of skill;

[This is unchanged from the current legislation]

who is compensated at an hourly rate of not less than $27.63 an hour or who is paid on a salary basis at a salary level as set forth by the Department of Labor in part 541 of title 29, Code of Federal Regulations. An employee described in this paragraph shall be considered an employee in a professional capacity pursuant to paragraph (1).’.

[Current legislation reads: who, in the case of an employee who is compensated on an hourly basis, is compensated at a rate of not less than $27.63 an hour.]
[NOTE that the new bill would add the salaried employees that are not covered under the current legislation.]

So what does it mean to be "an employee in a professional capacity" under The Fair Labor Standards Act? It means your employer is exempt from having to pay you for your overtime hours.

Sec. 213
§ 213. Exemptions

(a) Minimum wage and maximum hour requirements

The provisions of sections 206 (except subsection (d) in the case of paragraph (1) of this subsection) and section 207 of this title shall not apply with respect to

(1) any employee employed in a bona fide executive, administrative, or professional capacity (including any employee employed in the capacity of academic administrative personnel or teacher in elementary or secondary schools), or in the capacity of outside salesman (as such terms are defined and delimited from time to time by regulations of the Secretary, subject to the provisions of subchapter II of chapter 5 of Title 5, except that an employee of a retail or service establishment shall not be excluded from the definition of employee employed in a bona fide executive or administrative capacity because of the number of hours in his workweek which he devotes to activities not directly or closely related to the performance of executive or administrative activities, if less than 40 per centum of his hours worked in the workweek are devoted to such activities);

And what is the salary level as set forth by the Department of Labor in part 541 of title 29, Code of Federal Regulation?

Subpart G—Salary Requirements

§ 541.600 Amount of salary required.

(a) To qualify as an exempt executive,administrative or professional employee under section 13(a)(1) of the Act, an employee must be compensated on a salary basis at a rate of not less than $455 per week (or $380 per week, if employed in American Samoa by employers other than the Federal Government), exclusive of board,lodging or other facilities.Administrative and professional employees may also be paid on a fee basis, as defined in § 541.605.

(b) The $455 a week may betranslated into equivalent amounts forperiods longer than one week. Therequirement will be met if the employeeis compensated biweekly on a salarybasis of $910, semimonthly on a salarybasis of $985.83, or monthly on a salarybasis of $1,971.66. However, theshortest period of payment that willmeet this compensation requirement is one week.

In other words,  if you are one of potentially thousands of people in a job that is "related to computers," your employer would be able to call you exempt and not pay you for your overtime hours if this bill passes. That covers just about everyone working  in the computer industry.

So what lobbyist group do you think has put pressure to bear on our heretofore esteemed Senator from North Carolina? I cannot see how much of the language of this new version of the existing Fair Labor Standards Act benefits anyone in this country except corporations. This effectively takes money out of the pockets of even more working Americans and gives it away to corporations.

And a shout-out to @speaker2codecs for pointing out that "No overtime for waged [employees] means far fewer salaried positions."

This bill is bad for the 99 percent and it is bad for the economy.

►►► Phone Senator Hagan's offices ◄◄◄

DC Office: 202-224-6342 Greensboro Office: 336-333-5311
Raleigh Office: 919-856-4630 Charlotte Office: 704-334-2448
Asheville Office: 828-257-6510 Greenville Office: 252-754-0707
Then call your own Senators and tell them not to co-sponsor this bill and to vote NO if it makes it to the Senate floor.

►►► Find your Senator's contact information here. ◄◄◄

We must take action to save working America!

This post originally appeared at reelectdemocrats. Please visit to read more of my posts.

"How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world." ~ Anne Frank


You must enter an Intro for your Diary Entry between 300 and 1150 characters long (that's approximately 50-175 words without any html or formatting markup).

Mon Dec 12, 2011 at  2:47 PM PT: A couple of people in the comments section pointed out that, in general, IT workers are already considered exempt, and that this bill only seeks to add language to include new fields within the industry since the original law was written in 1990. As such, I have slightly modified this post to acknowledge those facts and made changes where necessary.

However, my opposition to this bill still stands, as the language is far too broad and all-encompassing, including (but not limited to, of course) anyone working in a "computer related" field.

In addition, especially with the current conversation about income inequality in this country, it hardly makes sense to give employers yet another list of people who they can now re-classify as exempt so that they won't have to pay them overtime for their work.

Extended (Optional)

Originally posted to jillwklausen on Sun Dec 11, 2011 at 07:19 PM PST.

Also republished by In Support of Labor and Unions.

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