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The Goals of Labor Aren't Thwarted by Changing Laws to Allow Flexible Hours

August 07, 1988

I don't believe that changing state regulations to allow a worker to work up to 12 hours a day without overtime pay up to 40 hours a week would hurt employees. The problem with the current regulations that mandate overtime pay for working days of more than eight hours is that they do not allow the employee (or the employer) flexibility in arranging their work time.

For example, if one of my full-time employees needs (or wants) to take time off other than vacation or sick time, they now cannot make up that lost time without getting into an overtime situation. If I allow them to make up that time, I have to pay overtime--even though they are doing exactly the same amount of work as they normally do. If I do not allow them to make up the time because I am unwilling to pay overtime for their normal work, they are penalized for their time off.

Under the proposed rules, employees still would receive overtime pay for working more than 40 hours per week. Inflexible schedules are not in the employees' best interests. In our experience, it is the employees who want to rearrange their work weeks more often than the employers. The result, at least in our store, of a change in the regulations, will be an increase in the number of paid hours worked--which would seem to be a pro-labor result.

LINDEN MALKI

The writer is the owner of Import Auto Supply in San Bernardino.

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