While union leaders and politicians yell that we are repealing the eight-hour day, the fact is exceptions are already allowed under existing California law. You can institute alternative workweek schedules now if two-thirds of the employees authorize it by secret ballot, but then all employees must follow that schedule.

The problem with this is that you can't just let an employee work a flexible schedule when the workload requires it everybody must be covered. It's so cumbersome only a few hundred employers in California use it.

The overwhelming majority of government employees are paid overtime only after a 40-hour week, as are many union employees as a result of collective bargaining agreements. But the ordinary business owner covered by IWC rules must pay overtime on an eight-hour day basis.

In a world of hectic schedules and changing lifestyles, flexible working hours are a real necessity. The IWC rule change allows flexibility and yet doesn't change anyone's pay as long as they work 40 hours in a week.

Nevertheless, labor is talking about an initiative to overturn the new rule, and politicians are threatening lawsuits.

How's that in anyone's interest? The IWC rule should become law and California should conform with federal rules and 47 other states on overtime pay.

Martyn Hopper is California state director for the National Federation of Independent Business.

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