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Changing Overtime Pay?

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CARSON CITY – Overtime pay for working more than eight hours per day would disappear under a proposal from Sen. James Settelmeyer, R-Gardnerville.

While employers and chambers of commerce supported the bill, Settelmeyer said he brought Senate Bill 332 on behalf of employees. He said workers in his district told him they wanted more flexibility with their schedules. Currently, employers must pay employees overtime at a rate of 1.5 times the hourly wage any time an employee works more than eight hours in any 16 hour period or one calendar day. The bill would keep the time and one-half rate for employees who work more than 40 hours per week.

Several restaurant owners testified before a Senate committee that Nevada’s current overtime law prevents flexible schedules beneficial to both employees and employers. “The regulation in Nevada is onerous and ridiculous,” said Larry Harvey of John Ascuaga’s Nugget casino in Sparks. Carole Villardo of the Nevada Taxpayers Association testified that a survey from her group identified the daily overtime law as an “impediment” to creating jobs. She told the Senate Labor, Commerce and Energy Committee, which heard the bill, a story from an Elko restaurant owner. “If someone does not show up for her breakfast shift the next morning, if she calls someone back in who worked the late shift, she is on overtime,” Villardo said. “That is a major impact to a lot of small businesses.” Villardo had earlier written that the senator’s bill would put Nevada’s law more in line with the federal Fair Labor Standards Act.

Labor groups opposed the bill, saying it would not be fair to employees. “There were people who were making minimum wage who were working 16 consecutive hours,” said Jack Mallory, lobbyist for Painters and Allied Traders International Union District Council 15. “And really I think that’s what the existing law is intended to discourage.” Sen. Michael Roberson, R-Las Vegas, asked Mallory whether there was any room for compromise. “You’re hearing from two different sides of the story,” Mallory said. “You’re hearing from the industries and you’re hearing from groups of employees. I think we have a difference of opinion.”

The committee did not take action on the bill.

(story courtesy: Nevada News Bureau)

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