New overtime regulations incite protests nationwide

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New federal regulations governing overtime pay sparked protests across the country as they took effect Monday.

AFL-CIO President John Sweeney, union members and their families rallied against the FairPay overtime initiative outside the U.S. Department of Labor in Washington and in several other cities.

Unions charge that the rules were designed to cut employer costs by reducing the number of workers who qualify for overtime. However, U.S. labor officials say the rules are a necessary means of clarifying which employees are and are not eligible for overtime pay.

Registered nurses, for example, who are paid a salary of $455 per week or more may be classified as exempt from overtime pay depending upon the state, whereas licensed practical nurses and other similar healthcare employees do not qualify as exempt from overtime pay.