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Here’s the Tea: Ohio Senate Bill 47 is another protection for big businesses

Business suits, slacks and dress shoes are no longer necessary for work meetings. Loungewear and pajamas are the new normal in attending board meetings. The coronavirus has forced many people to work from home, presenting challenges in managing a work-life balance. The newly proposed legislation, Ohio Senate Bill 47, or SB 47, will further complicate the work-life balance many people have established amid the pandemic. 

SB 47, sponsored by Sen. Andrew Brenner, restricts employers from paying overtime to employees for work done after duties written in their job description. This restriction excludes implied tasks done to support established responsibilities. Implied tasks are essential to complete specific assignments. Employers should pay employees for their implied duties since it aids them in achieving their specific tasks, especially when those tasks are done after work hours. 

The bill also prohibits payment of overtime for labor requiring small amounts of time after established working hours. A typical example provided is someone checking their email while filling up their gas tank. However, anyone who has a job knows no such thing as glimpsing at an email. Emails usually contain important information that requires an immediate response or asks to complete an additional endeavor. If an email requires completing extra work after established working hours, employees should get paid, no matter the time it took for them to complete the task. 

The idea that employees are responsible for work activities completed outside of designated business hours diminishes the work people put into their jobs. The bill undermines the laws of overtime pay included in the Fair Labor Standards Act. The act was passed because of businesses exploiting employees’ labor during the Industrial Revolution and Great Depression. In introducing a bill that will not require companies to pay overtime, Ohio reverts to antiquated business practices. 

The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the systemic problems families encounter with the concept of work-life balance. In working remotely, parents have become responsible for educating their children while also trying to meet their job demands. There is no separation between work and personal time. This bill takes away income from families, forcing parents to complete work without compensation.

SB 47 is a step in the wrong direction. With the increase in people working remotely, businesses need to put confidence in their employees, creating a healthy work environment and reducing emotional distress. Employers can hide behind this bill while employees suffer at their hands. 

This bill exposes the inferior dynamic ingrained in our society, requiring the presence of an underdog.

Iana Fields is a sophomore studying English creative writing at Ohio University. Please note that the views and opinions of the columnists do not reflect those of The Post. Want to talk to Iana? Tweet her @FieldsIana.  

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