A George Soros-funded economic institute has been one of the main advocates for requiring companies to pay more overtime to workers.
The long-term pet project of the Economic Policy Institute, or EPI, now may be put into action following President Obama’s executive order last week instructing the Labor Department to consider revising overtime pay regulations affecting millions of Americans.
In January, the EPI recommended that Obama use the Labor Department to change overtime rules.
Soros’ Open Society Institute is a major donor to EPI. The multi-billionaire hedge-fund manager is known for his strong influence on American politics and culture through his massive funding of left-wing causes. He also has played a key role in the toppling of regimes worldwide.
Apparently in fulfillment of EPI’s proposal, Obama signed an executive order March 13 directing the Labor Department to propose rules aimed at salaried workers who make more than $455 a week. Obama wants overtime pay for workers who currently are ineligible because they are designated as management even though their supervisory duties are minimal.
“We’ve got to build an economy that works for everybody, not just for a few,” Obama declared when he signed the order. “Today, I’m gonna use my pen to give more Americans the chance to earn overtime pay that they deserve. … If you have to work more, you should get paid more.”
The executive order instructs the Labor Department to consider revising the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, which governs labor regulations such as overtime pay.
The plan has been attacked by critics as government overreach and income redistribution while the White House defends the overtime initiative as protecting workers’ rights.
Earlier this year, the Economic Policy Institute released a paper recommending the Labor Department increase to $970 a week the salary threshold that helps determine which workers can receive overtime pay.
The EPI paper estimated raising the threshold to that amount for those who make $50,440 or less a year would affect “10 million salaried workers” who “would get overtime pay for going over 40 weekly hours.”
The study specifically suggested Obama instruct the Labor Department to amend the Fair Labor Standards Act.
The EPI paper states, “Fortunately, the law gives President Obama the authority to change the salary level through Department of Labor regulation.”
The paper argues the secretary of labor “should exercise his authority to raise the salary threshold that helps determine which workers can receive overtime pay.”
EPI has been pushing the overtime increase plan since at least 2003, issuing numerous studies, reports and opinion pieces advocating the plan.
EPI espouses largely progressive economic policies. It is a proponent of immigration reform, raising the minimum wage and more government regulation of the economy.
The group was among the first to call for an “economic stimulus that included substantial infrastructure investments to combat the forthcoming recession.” Some of EPI’s specific recommendations were reportedly included in Obama’s 2009 “stimulus” law.
With research by Brenda J. Elliott.