Overtime expansion too much for some restaurants' plates - CBS46 News

Overtime expansion too much for some restaurants' plates

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President Barack Obama Thursday ordered the Labor Department to expand overtime pay to millions more workers, but some people in Atlanta's restaurant industry don't like what's getting served.

Currently, businesses do not have to pay workers in management positions (classified as executive, administrative, or professional) overtime if the worker makes more than $455 a week. That means an employee could work well over 40 hours a week and not make more than $24,000 a year.

The hospitality industry, especially independent restaurants, are expected to take the largest hit.

Tad Mitchell, owner of Six Feet Under, understands the need. He said when he was starting out in the industry he got paid very little and worked, "50, sometimes 70 hours a week."

Robin Gagnon, vice president of We Sell Restaurants, the country's largest restaurant brokerage firm and based in Atlanta, worries the change could hurt Atlanta's estimated 7,000 mom-and-pop restaurants. She said many of the businesses can't afford to pay more.

"You will see owners who will choose to just stay in their restaurant themselves and not bring people in, so we won't see jobs grow from this. We'll see jobs being taken out of the market place," Gagnon said.

Shane McIntire, chef and owner of Ocean Market in Atlanta, said he agrees expanding overtime will spell trouble.

"It's just another expense to the small-business guy," McIntire said.

He, too, started out working long hours for little pay. He said the hard work just wet his appetite for more.

"You have to pay your dues, learn your skill. It doesn't matter if you're a chef, a cook, or in an office building. You don't get the world because you just graduated from school, and you want it," he said.

The Labor Department must now devise the new overtime rules which likely wouldn't take effect until 2015.

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