Obama signs memo to strengthen overtime pay rules

President Barack Obama, with supporters of the president's memorandum, speaks in the East Room of the White House in Washington, Thursday, March 13, 2014, before signing a Presidential Memorandum directing Labor Secretary Tom Perez to modernize overtime protections. Obama is bypassing Congress and orders changes in overtime rules so employers would required to pay millions more for extra time they put in on the job. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
President Barack Obama, with supporters of the president's memorandum, speaks in the East Room of the White House in Washington, Thursday, March 13, 2014, before signing a Presidential Memorandum directing Labor Secretary Tom Perez to modernize overtime protections. Obama is bypassing Congress and orders changes in overtime rules so employers would required to pay millions more for extra time they put in on the job. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

WASHINGTON (AP) – President Barack Obama has signed a presidential memorandum directing the Department of Labor to devise new overtime rules to make more workers eligible for time-and-a-half pay.

The memorandum is one of the most far-reaching executive actions by the president this year. New rules would likely not take effect until 2015.

Obama has pledged that when necessary, he will bypass Congress to act on his own on economic initiatives.

Advocates of new overtime rules say millions of workers could benefit. Critics say it could overburden small businesses and other companies and actually cost jobs.

Obama has focused this year on increasing worker pay. He’s calling on Congress to increase the federal minimum wage from $7.25 an hour to $10.10.

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