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Senate Encouraging Stock Options

April 12, 2000

WASHINGTON (AP) _ Federal labor laws would be streamlined to clear the way for hourly employees to receive stock options and gain a stake in the nation’s prosperity, senators said Wednesday in passing the measure.

``This bill simply says it makes no difference if you work in the corporate boardroom or on the factory floor. Everyone should be able to share in the success of the company,″ said Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., the bill’s sponsor.

Government officials last year realized that under the 1938 Fair Labor Standards Act, an hourly employee’s stock options must be counted as part of his base pay when calculating overtime.

The business community, as well as lawmakers, were concerned that the exorbitant costs involved would force employers to eliminate stock options for hourly workers but not salaried employees.

Wednesday’s bill, which passed 95-0, exempts stock option gains from overtime pay. Stock options would be treated as an employee benefit and could not be used in lieu of a worker’s regular salary or used in calculating overtime compensation.

Sen. James Jeffords, R-Vt., said the measure was a ``symbolic first step in the process of aligning our labor laws with the new economy.″

A similar bill is pending in a House committee. Labor Secretary Alexis Herman, whose agency helped draft the legislation, has said she will recommend that President Clinton sign the bill if it passes.


The bill is S. 2323 and H.R. 4109

On the Net:

Legislative information: http://thomas.loc.gov/home/thomas.html?57,18

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