Back to School: 3 Reasons To Train Your Front-Line Managers

TradePost would like to welcome back Bonnie Cox, founder of Power Training Institute. As summer ends, Bonnie outlines 3 reasons that you should send your managers back to class.

Fall is just around the corner. Books, pencils, and notebooks are filling the backpacks of children once again. Of course, most employees aren't at that stage of life anymore. How long has it been since your managers have been trained? Did it stick? Is it in the budget this year? Do you need to hire... again? Here are the top 3 reasons why sending your managers "back to school" should be one of your company's top priorities.

1) Not training has a cost.
It's proven that it is far more expensive to hire and/or fire an employee than to train them. Remember what Marcus Buckingham (First, Break All the Rules) says about employees that resign: "People leave managers, not companies." Well-trained managers will help you maintain your workforce and their morale. It costs more to remain on standby as your turnover rate escalates, than to invest in a professional development program for your managers.

2) A happy manager means business.
A recent Gallup poll highlights that only 35% of managers in the U.S. are engaged in their workplace . What does this mean? A disengaged manager means that the workforce under their watch will be less inclined to perform. It will affect key profit factors such as productivity, profit margins, and customer satisfaction. Employees who work for engaged managers are 59% more likely to participate in their work (Gallup, 4/2/15) . This means high quality performance and workforce stability for your organization.

3) Focusing on purpose can increase profit.
So how do you engage your managers? Franklin Covey always taught to "begin with the end in mind." To grow any company you need a high-performance management team that is organized, accountable, and strategic. Managers need to feel engaged to the company's mission and purpose in order to perform and influence others to perform. Just understanding a company's purpose is not enough; managers and employees need to feel that their efforts are a contributing factor to your mission.

Equip your staff with the right tools to take your company to the next level. Think about what your staff needs. Are they lacking motivation? Are you experiencing high turnover? Are your managers communicating effectively, consistently, and appropriately with their teams? Don't hesitate and join the back to school season. It's time to send your managers back to class.

To learn more about PTI and their management classes, call (805-456-5227) or visit

Amazon: The Future of White-Collar Work?

Last week, The New York Times ran a lengthy article on the work culture for white-collar employees at retail giant, Amazon. The piece describes a harrowing experience where Amazon employees (often self-dubbed as "Amazonians") face punishingly long hours, sabotaging feedback from coworkers, and an annual purge of the staff who are performing in the bottom 10% of employees. But for some Amazonians, their workplace, although harsh, allows them to work on innovative, groundbreaking ideas, to openly question the status quo, and to interact with some of the smartest people in the tech world. Amazon will never be described as an employee paradise for white-collar workers, but is the results-focused culture obsessed with innovation the future of American workplaces?

Amazon is not a forgiving place for employees: an internal feedback system allows coworkers to sabotage each other anonymously, individual performance is measured obsessively, and personal crises can make workers the target of escalated monitoring and even being edged out of the company. Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of the online behemoth, created the twelve principles, Amazon's foundation for its work environment and management culture. The principles are not guidelines or vague banalities; they are essential to the company and Amazonians who want to stick around must adhere to each one. In a 1997 letter to shareholders, Bezos wrote that "you can work long, hard, or smart, but at Amazon you can't choose two out of three."

Unlike other tech giants famous for employee perks, Amazon does not offer unlimited vacation, on-site gyms, free meals, or even any parental leave policy. So with a grueling culture and minimal perks, why does Amazon employ 50,000 white-collar workers on its Seattle campus alone with more clamoring at the door to join? Compensation is competitive and successful employees can earn the equivalent of an extra salary from stock. But more than that, those who thrive as Amazonians do so because they have bought into the company and have truly embraced Bezos' twelve principles, especially the first: customer obsession. One former Amazonian found herself "addicted to wanting to be successful." With the second highest turnover rate of Fortune 500 companies, the average tenure at Amazon is about 12 months (PayScale, 7/28/2013). This is partly due to the fact that the company has grown rapidly and adds new staff all the time; their Seattle office alone currently has about 4,500 job openings (The New York Times, 8/15/2015). Despite high turnover and a need for workers, Bezos and Amazon have not toned down the culture and survivors are only those able to buy totally into the vision of the company.

Although taken to the extreme, some of Amazon's principles may sound familiar. Companies are becoming ever more obsessed with results, data, and evaluating employee performance with hard metrics. Businesses are looking for employees who will take ownership (Amazon's 2nd principle) of their work and care about the long-term success of a business. Working 'round the clock has become the norm for many white-collar employees, and not just at tech giants. Many companies are even adopting internal feedback systems similar to Amazon's where coworkers give comments on their colleagues' performance. Amazon's culture may be the modern American workplace taken to the extreme, but are other companies heading down a similar road? Is an obsessive, almost cult-like culture the future of the workplace?

Readers, would you work for a company with a culture like Amazon's? Comment and let us know!

The Digital Destruction of Middle-Class Jobs

When a new piece of technology is introduced, it's touted as the miracle solution to make work and life smarter, easier, and faster. Nearly every person carries around a small super computer in their pocket, the Internet keeps faraway family or coworkers connected, and mountains of data and information can be stored for time immemorial. Technological innovations claim to aid people in life and employees at work, but is the constant march of digital development actually destroying middle-class jobs?

The end of employees and the rise or robots is an apocalyptic prediction that has been forecast before, but never come to pass. However, the rapid advancement of tech could eliminate middle-income jobs that sustain many households, leaving workers without a digital skill set out of luck. Until about the year 2000, labor productivity and private employment grew together in the U.S. However, at the turn of the century, a gap emerged between productivity and employment: productivity continued to increase, while private employment decreased (see chart). Because of new technology, the economy and GDP were growing, but not coupled with job creation (Tech Republic, 8/19/14).

Since that time, new technologies created high-paying jobs – but only for a few and only for those with the right skill set. In the past, most middle-income households were sustained by factory or manufacturing jobs. In 1970, more than one quarter of U.S. employees worked in manufacturing (Bloomberg, 4/25/2014); those jobs accounted for only 8.8% of U.S. employment in 2013 (Economic Policy Institute, 1/22/15). The decline of U.S. manufacturing has several contributing factors: outsourcing and a surge of Chinese imports both contributed to the continual drop. However, manufacturing employment is falling globally in nearly every country, including China, (Bloomberg, 4/25/2014), due mainly to technology and the elimination of the need for industrial workers.

It is not just factory jobs being claimed by automation. About 47% of all present jobs in the U.S. are predicted to be computerized or automated within the next two decades (Oxford University, 7/17/13). Some service and white-collar positions are also expected to succumb to technology; accountants, retail salespeople, technical writers, and telemarketers, all have a high probability of being replaced by robots within the next twenty years (see chart, Business Insider, 7/23/14).

As middle-class jobs decline because of automation, others jobs do replace them; however, these are typically highly-skilled tech jobs or low-wage service jobs, leading to a polarized workforce. Those working in high-skilled jobs will benefit from high wages, while those working in low-skilled jobs will encounter the continuing trend of finding their earnings depressed. Additionally, technology allows companies to substitute labor for capital, which boosts productivity, but does nothing for wages, and concentrates wealth among a small group and resulting in ever-increasing inequality (University of Oxford, 2/2015).

But are the dire predictions are a bit too apocalyptic? Is the technology boom all part of typical economic cycles that destroy some categories of jobs but open up a whole world of new employment? A few decades should determine whether technology replaces workers with robots.

Readers, do you think technology is creating or destroying jobs? Comment and let us know!

A (Practically) Perfect Parental Leave Policy

Last week, Netflix, a company used to receiving fanfare for its employee policies, announced that it would be offering new mothers and fathers the opportunity to take off as much paid time as they'd like in the first year of becoming parents. Netflix's new plan goes well beyond even generous parental leave policies of other companies like Google or Facebook, and far surpasses outstrips the majority of American companies which offer no paid parental leave. The streaming company announced the new plan in a blog post and has made the policy accessible to both men and women. Netflix's new plan may be spurring other companies to offer more generous parental leave: Adobe and Microsoft both expanded their policies shortly after Netflix's announcement. The policy seems practically perfect, and it could be, if implemented correctly.

The company's new plan states that new "parents can return part-time, full-time, or return and then go back out as needed,"without changes in pay in the first year of parenthood. This policy is coupled with Netflix's unlimited vacation plan, but not every employee benefits. The parental leave applies only to salaried workers, not the hourly employees working in the DVD distribution centers. Netflix won't disclose exactly how many employees are not eligible for the parental perk, but it has reported about 2,300 total workers, of which an estimated 400-500 are not eligible (NPR, 8/6/15).

America is only one of three countries in the world, and the only developed nation, which does not offer paid maternity leave (ABC, 5/6/15); so although groundbreaking compared to receiving no paid parental time off, Netflix's new policy ushers in its own set of challenges. Like unlimited vacation time, such a flexible policy means that some employees may be unsure of if and how they can take advantage of it. Without defined limits, employees may be hesitant to partake of this new perk, and if they do they may be resented by their bosses or coworkers for doing so.

New mothers may have a particularly hard time taking advantage of the policy without repercussions. Although the leave is open to both men and women, women are already under-represented in tech companies and if only women use their paid parental leave, while men tend to pass up the perk or take less time off, women could still be pushed in a "mommy track"at work, with fewer promotions and raises once they return to work, a cycle already typical for many women.

Netflix should be applauded for implementing a paid parental leave policy for its employees. The next step will be ensuring that company culture actually supports its usage.

Readers, what do you think of Netflix's new parental leave policy? Comment and let us know!

July Jobs Report

In July, U.S. employers added 215,000 new jobs, compared with an average monthly gain of 246,000 over the prior 12 months, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Employment Situation Summary. The unemployment rate remained unchanged at 5.3%. The labor participation rate was also unchanged at 62.6% in July, after declining 0.3 percent in June. Economists wonder if the report is good enough to keep the Fed on track to raise rates in September.

Industries that experienced the most growth in July included retail (+36,000), health care (+28,000), and professional and technical services (+27,000). Temporary help services showed little change from June to July (-0.3%) but is up 4.5% over July 2014.

Is it Time to "Ban the Box?"

Anyone who has applied to a job is probably familiar with "the box." Most applications require candidates to indicate if they've ever been convicted of a crime. Many people skim this section and check "No" without much thought. For the nearly 70 million Americans who have been convicted of a crime, however, that small box can be a huge hindrance in finding a job. Activists gathered last week to urge President Obama to "ban the box" when hiring for federal agencies or contractors, following the trend of many cities and states which have already removed criminal history from the application process. Even as job growth surges ahead, applicants with criminal records have trouble finding work. Is "the box" an unfair barrier to employment and would removing it from job applications help unemployed people with criminal records integrate back into the workforce?

Nine out of ten employers check databases for criminal records when hiring and advocates of banning "the box" claim that the use of background checks in the hiring process has systemically excluded applicants with criminal histories. Of nonworking men in the United States, 34% have a criminal record (The New York Times, 2/28/15). With nearly one in four Americans having a criminal record, "the box" could be hindering nearly 70 million people from finding work (NBC, 6/5/14).

The "ban the box" campaign has surged in the last several years. The initiative works to remove conviction history from the application process and delay any background check until later in the hiring process. Momentum for the idea has gained traction in the last several years: over 100 cities and counties have adopted the rule and a total of 18 states have also followed suit, including California, Colorado, Georgia, Illinois, Ohio, Oregon, and Virginia. Most of these laws apply to pubic employers; only seven states have removed the conviction history question for applications for private employers (National Employment Law Project, 7/1/15).

New York City is one of the most recent cities to join the movement and recently passed the Fair Chance Act that will "ban the box" for any employer with more than four staff members. Like other laws, the criminal background check is delayed until later in the process and a job offer can be rescinded because of a conviction record. Private employers have also taken their own initiative: major companies like Walmart, Target, Starbucks, and Koch Industries have voluntarily decided to remove the box from their job applications.

Some are not convinced and worry that "banning the box" will complicate and lengthen the hiring process, erode workplace safety, and open up businesses for potential litigation. The National Retail Federation views the box as measure to ensure security and safety at work and claims that having background information at the beginning of the hiring process allows the employer to make an informed decision. Banning "the box" could result in employers coming to an offer stage and then withdrawing due to the background check, spending time and resources on a candidate who is not ultimately hired. The National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB) also opposed "ban the box" laws, saying that they stretch thin the resources that small businesses have when screening and hiring applicants, opening them up to liability in the future. Before Michigan passed its own measure, NFIB surveyed business owners and found that 88% of them were opposed to the law (NBC, 6/5/14).

Activists promoting the regulations have urged President Obama to sign an executive order to remove "the box" from job applications for federal agencies and contractors. The President has already asked Congress to pass a bill that would delay criminal background checks until further into the hiring process, but proponents are pressing him to act where he can during the remaining months of his presidency.

Readers, should "the box" be banned from job applications? Comment and let us know!

Does Corporate Profit-Sharing Spread the Wealth?

As the 2016 presidential primaries draw closer, many candidates have begun to outline their economic plans, all touting to aid workers and raise the middle class. Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton shared her own economic plan, the centerpiece of which is increasing employee pay and raising income levels. As part of her plan, Clinton hopes to remedy stagnant wage growth with a "Rising Incomes, Sharing Profits" tax credit, which would award a two-year tax credit to companies that offer profit-sharing programs to employees. But, does profit-sharing actually spread the wealth to workers or does it have unintended consequences that could actually hurt the very employees it's supposed to help?

Clinton's proposed plan gives companies a two-year tax credit equal to 15% of the profits they share. As an example, an employee earning $50,000 a year could receive an additional $5,000 in profit-sharing and the company would then receive a tax credit of $750 per worker. The credit would only be available to companies that offered profit-sharing widely to workers and would phase out higher-income employees from the program.

Corporate profits, although lagging in the first half of the year, are still at an historic high and profit-sharing aims to distribute some corporate profits back to workers in order to raise employee wages and give workers a stake in company performance. Proponents of the plan assert that employees become stakeholders in a company under profit-sharing arrangements: when a company does well, employees share in the gains. Advocates claim that having an investment in a company's performance can lead to higher productivity, stronger employee loyalty, and higher incomes. Companies with profit-sharing plans had average compensation levels 8 percent higher than other comparable companies (National Bureau of Economic Research, 2012).

One example of profit-sharing being a win-win for both employees and companies is WinCo, an Oregon-based, employee-owned supermarket chain. The company offers its workers an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP), and more than 400 front-line, non-executive employees have accumulated over $1 million in retirement savings; within the last seven years, WinCo has paid out almost $1 billion to retirees (Forbes, 11/5/14). The grocery chain is visibly successful with 98 stores across the nation and an expected $6 billion in sales in 2015.

However, others worry that the program could actually harm the workers Clinton aims to help. Although typically bonuses from profit-sharing are in addition to normal wages, companies could try to replace some of their payroll with profit-sharing, which would harm middle-class workers that rely on consistent paychecks. Corporate profits, although high, can be erratic; for instance, during the Great Recession, profits plunged 16% (Fortune, 3/30/15). Workers that depend on reliable income could be hurt by wages being tied to their organization's performance. Skeptics of the idea also claim that the boons of profit-sharing are mostly theoretical and not enough economic research exists to prop up the idea that profit-sharing plans boost wages of middle-income workers.

Clinton's tax credit is only a proposal, and is likely only one of many that will come from a variety of presidential hopefuls in the coming months. But corporate profit-sharing is part of the larger debate around reversing wage stagnation and boosting middle-class workers.

Readers, would you want to work at company with profit-sharing? Is it a win for the economy and workers? Comment and let us know!

The Disappearing American Worker

The unemployment rate has been falling steadily for several years as the United States emerges from the Great Recession. In June, the unemployment rate fell to 5.3%, the lowest in seven years. Job growth has also been consistently steady, if a bit sluggish after a first quarter slump. However as the unemployment rate has fallen, so too has the labor participation rate. In June, the workforce participation rate declined to 62.6%, the lowest since October 1977. Do more and more people exiting the workforce reveal that the economic recovery may not be as bright as some hope? Or is it simply the new normal?

Americans have been leaving the labor force since the tech bubble burst in 2000. Before then, the rate had been steadily climbing as women entered the workplace. More than 94 million Americans are neither employed nor looking for work, and 432,000 people left the labor force in June, causing a further slump in participation. The downward trend has been consistent for nearly fifteen years and a sluggish economic recovery has only hastened the decline.

The drop in participation could be caused by certain demographic groups opting out of work. For instance, Americans are now living longer and the Boomers who once made up the majority of the workforce have retired in force in the last years. Only a third of Baby Boomers in the U.S. are still working (Gallup, 1/26/15). On the opposite end of the spectrum, more young Americans have opted to stay in or return to school rather than start their career. Non-working students, mostly under the age of 35, increased from 5.8% in 2006 to 7.1% in 2012 (Bloomberg, 1/19/15). Those continuing their education are predicted to return to the labor force once they've finished school, but for now their education keeps them from being employed. Younger people staying in school longer and a mass exodus of older workers means that the labor participation has dragged since well before the Great Recession and will continue to do so as more Boomers retire.

However, less people working may not just be about generations. The more worrying aspect of decreased participation is the decline of "prime workers" (those between 25 and 54 years of age) dropping out of the workforce. The amount of men in the workforce declined to 69% in June, the lowest since the data started being tracked in 1948 (U.S. News & World Report 7/16/15). Women, who were responsible for the climbing participation rate for several decades, have also left the workforce and their participation has declined to 56.7%, down from the 60% peak in 2000.

Most concerning is that economists do not expect prime workers who have left the labor force to return to it, even if the economic recovery speeds up. Those who have opted out have done so out of discouragement and changing work environments. Despite 5.4 million vacant positions, these workers do not have the skills potential employers are seeking for their open jobs. This becomes a vicious cycle: as workers drop out of the labor force due to lack of skills, being unemployed means they can't get the job skills they need and decreases their employability even further.

The shrinking American workforce is predicted to continue and economists worry that low labor participation will hurt the economy. A decline in productivity could mean depressed development and stagnant GDP growth. The disappearing American worker may mean that the economy will continue to limp along rather than surge ahead.

Readers, why do you think the labor participation rate is falling? Comment and let us know!

Black Friday in July: Retail Giants Battle for Online Sales

Seeing advertisements for blowout sales, slashed prices, and one-day deals might make some feel as if it's the beginning of the holiday sale season. The heat, however, makes it quite clear that Christmas is far off and instead online retailers have decided to recreate Black Friday in July. Amazon was the first to anoint July 15 as "Prime Day," a one-day online shopping event "with more deals than Black Friday," exclusively for Amazon Prime members. When the online retail giant announced their day of deals, Walmart quickly declared a rival sale with exclusive online "rollbacks," while Target also joined the fray with their sixth annual "Black Friday in July" week.

The three retail behemoths continually compete to capture the growing amount of sales made online as more and more people opt to make purchases on the web rather than at brick-and-mortar stores. For instance, in 2014 Cyber Monday outpaced Black Friday sales as predicted: total sales hit over $2 billion and were up 17% from the previous year (Fortune, 12/2/2014) while companies saw their Black Friday sales drop 11% (Fortune 11/30/2014).

E-retail sales are skyrocketing throughout the whole year, not just Cyber Monday. In 2014, web sales totaled more than $300 billion for the first time and sales were up 15% from 2013. The majority of sales are still made in brick-and-mortar establishments: E-commerce accounted for 6.5% of total retail sales in 2014 (Internet Retailer, 2/17/2015). However, that number is expected to grow continually and researchers predict that by 2018, e-retail will account for about 11% of total sales, nearly double the amount currently (Internet Retailer, 5/12/2014). Online sales will continue to be driven by Millennial consumers and mobile purchases. During Cyber Monday in 2014, sales made on mobile devices increased 30% from the previous year and accounted for 20% of total purchases (Fortune 12/1/2014). Mobile shopping accounted for 15% of digital commerce in Q1 of 2015 and accounted for 59% of time spent online shipping, overtaking the amount of time spent shopping on a desktop (Internet Retailer, 6/8/2015).

Walmart, Target, and Amazon are all trying to capitalize on consumers' increased online shopping by fabricating holidays in order to boost spending. As the master of online sales, Amazon took a cue from China's e-commerce goliath Alibaba which made the holiday "Singles' Day" into a huge sales day in order to bump online purchases. Alibaba generated more than $9 billion in sales just for that one day (Forbes, 11/11/2014). Amazon's Prime Day was ostensibly planned around their 20th anniversary, but is more about increasing its Prime membership before companies like Walmart and eBay launch similar programs this summer than celebrating the company's birthday.

Amazon's Prime membership is an essential factor in its attempt to beat out retailers that dominate with storefronts, such as Walmart and Target. For $99 a year, Prime members have free two-day shipping (with same-day shipping available in some areas) as well as access to Amazon's media library. In Q1 of 2015, Prime had 40 million members and those enrolled spent nearly 2.5xas a much annually as compared to non-members (Harvard Business Review, 7/13/2015). Consistently higher sales have prompted Walmart and eBay to announce similar subscription services of their own. However, Amazon has never been concerned about operating at a profit and loses up to $2 billion annually on its Prime shipping costs (Reuters, 1/2/2015). Amazon is more concerned with dominating online sales than remaining profitable, a strategy that its competitors may not have the luxury of pursuing.

Online sales will not overtake storefront spending anytime soon, but the skyrocketing growth of digital commerce has retailers already competing for customers. Whichever business corners the market first on online sales may have an advantage over competitors if retail ever becomes bigger than brick-and-mortar.

Prime Day Update: The initial reaction to Amazon's Prime Day sale on social media was less than glowing. Many users started to use the hashtag #PrimeDayFail to express frustration at the lack of discounts on enticing items. However, despite the online disappointment, sales soared for the retailer. Amazon's sales rose 93% in the U.S. and 53% in Europe (CNN Money, 7/16/15).

Readers, do you online shop? Do "Black Friday in July" deals influence you to shop online? Comment and let us know!

New Proposed Overtime Rule Shifts Focus to Salaried Workers

In the ongoing saga of arguing whether raising the minimum wage would either benefit workers or harm businesses, certain industries and stakeholders battle more passionately than others as they are the ones most affected by these wage laws. When cities like Los Angeles institute higher hourly pay, employees in retail, food service, or personal care services are the ones who, according to proponents, would benefit the most, while the companies that employ them, according to critics, would suffer proportionately.

However, a new Department of Labor rule proposed by the White House last week has shifted the focus of the wage debate to salaried workers. The Obama administration's plan would more than double the threshold for overtime eligibility for salaried workers, making nearly 5 million more employees entitled to overtime pay and affecting nearly every corner of the labor force. If passed, the rule would guarantee overtime coverage for salaried workers earning less than $50,440 per year (currently the threshold is for those earning less than $23,660 per year). The proposal is planned to go into effect in 2016 and would make those earning less than $50,440 eligible for the standard overtime rate (time-and-a-half pay) whenever they work more than 40 hours per week.

The overtime law under the Fair Labor Standards Act was inducted during the Great Depression and the threshold has only been updated once in the last forty years. Four decades ago, the rule covered more than half of U.S. workers; now less than 8% of salaried employees are covered by the regulation (Los Angeles Times, 6/30/15). The overtime law has also not historically been tied to inflation, making a high salary in 1975 one that would leave a family of four below the poverty level in 2015. The new rule would either tie the threshold to future inflation or keep it to the 40th percentile of incomes.

When proposing the reform, Obama cited millions of workers who consistently work upwards of 40 hours a week, but are not paid for their extra time. Obama announced the proposed rule in a blog post where he lamented that "too many Americans are working long days for less pay than they deserve." Supporters of the rule claim that paying a premium for extra labor will help employers to either pay a higher salary or stop taking advantage of their workers for free labor. Some wished the new rule had gone further and were urging the White House to make the cutoff $69,000 per year. There is a 60-day period for public comment before the proposal is finalized, but debate about the subject is already delineating along familiar lines: proponents hail the rule as a win for workers and the economy, while critics are predicting dire consequences that would restrict workers' flexibility in their schedule, limit career growth opportunities, and strangle job growth.

The National Retail Federation has already submitted a condemnation of the new rule and others have insisted that it would force companies to reclassify salaried employees as hourly workers, thereby stripping them of benefits and flexibility. The NRF estimated that new overtime rule would cost restaurant and retail businesses $9.5 billion per year, and warned that employers would bend over backwards to avoid paying overtime, meaning that wages, bonuses, and hours might be cut to avoid having to pay time-and-a-half (NRF, 5/18/15). The White House has estimated direct costs to employers at $255 million per year (Los Angeles Times, 6/30/15).

Proponents argue that the new rule will fight stagnant wage growth and put more money in Americans' pockets, which could boost consumer spending (which has remained stubbornly flat) and the overall economy. The law would also curtail the practice of misclassifying workers as "managers" to avoid paying overtime, even though their job duties don't differ from non-managers, a practice that is especially prevalent in food service and retail. Advocates also hope to stop companies from taking advantage of free labor from employees and will either have to pay for the extra hours worked or make schedules fit into a 40-hour week.

Readers, do you support the new overtime rule? Why or why not? Comment and let us know!

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