New rule guarantees overtime pay for workers earning less than $47,476

As the Obama administration cheered “the worker wins” from a newly announced expansion of overtime pay, the directive drew a fierce backlash Wednesday from Republicans and the business community -- amid warnings that the move could backfire and hurt workers in the end.

“These rules are a career killer. With the stroke of a pen, the Labor Department is demoting millions of workers,” David French, a senior vice president for the National Retail Federation, said in a statement Wednesday morning.

Policy changes being formally unveiled Wednesday would make more than 4 million U.S. workers newly eligible for overtime pay. They’re intended to counter erosion in overtime protections, which require employers to pay 1 1/2 times a worker's regular salary for any work past 40 hours a week.

In the fast food and retail industries in particular, many workers have missed out on this because they’re deemed “managers” – they work long hours but are paid little more than the people they supervise.

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