Would Expanding The White-Collar Overtime Exception Change This Walmart Manager’s Life?

You might have seen the news a few weeks ago that President Obama issued an executive order that would expand how many workers who are eligible to receive overtime pay. Under current rules, salaried workers with administrative or supervisory duties, like retail managers, are exempt from federal overtime rules as long as they earn more than $455 per week. That includes an anonymous assistant manager at Walmart who spoke to Salon’s Josh Eidelson about what that really means in his life.

In an edited and condensed interview, the manager explains that he currently earns about $44,000 per year and works around 48 hours most weeks, and closer to 60 during the holiday season. While the new guidelines from the Department of Labor aren’t out yet, he can speculate about what changes to the exemption limits would mean for him. “I think I would get more time with my family,” he responds when asked what changes he would see if the revised guidelines make him eligible for overtime pay. “If I didn’t have more time with my family, I would definitely have money … to compensate me for time spent away.”

Managers, he explains, step in and perform store work that needs to be done in addition to managing hourly employees. Because managers don’t punch a clock, though, no one keeps track of whether they get breaks or lunches. Consumerist has discussed Walmart’s under-staffing and inventory issues, and this manager says that those issues continue. “They don’t have enough people to get the job done. And it shows. It shows on the shelves, in terms of the stock,” he notes, and we couldn’t agree more.

Keeping stores understaffed and under-stocked hurts business, Mr. Manager tells Eidelson. If a customer comes in with a list of 35 items and Walmart only has twenty of them on the shelves, the store loses that sale, and the customer probably isn’t coming back.

Exclusive: Wal-Mart manager speaks out about his store’s ugly reality [Salon]