President Obama wants to give more workers overtime pay

Copy of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)

President Barack Obama wants to give more workers overtime pay, even if they didn't qualify for it before now.

The New York Times reported that Obama will direct the US Labor Department to change its regulations for several million employees now considered executive or professional employees.

That change means their employers would have to pay them extra for working extra hours.

President Obama's executive order means all employees now considered exempt from overtime will get paid time-and-a-half for working more than 40 hours per week.

That may sound great for the employees, but there's concern businesses would cut those employees' hours or lower their salaries.

"Keep my costs steady, that's what the business owners would like to have, just keep their costs steady," Looten said. "So how are you going to do that? Are you going to give somebody less hours? Are you going to decrease their hourly wage?"

Quincy Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Amy Looten says business owners may be forced to raise their prices to offset the cost of paying employees overtime.

"The businesses cannot absorb an extremely large amount of pay increases, they can't do it without passing those costs onto their customers," Looten said.

Looten says the long-term financial impact on businesses won't be known until the change is implemented.

"It's undoing a system that we've had for quite a while and again, how to just monitor and track the hours that a manager has to work to get the job done," Looten said. "That will be very difficult."

President Obama plans to use his executive authority to change the overtime rules.