The Wall Street Journal posted a quote from SIA member Emo Pentermann, owner of Bell ATM Service Inc. He was asked about President Obama’s proposal to raise the salary floor at which overtime pay kicks in. Currently, employees who earn less than $12 an hour per day are exempt from overtime pay. $12 per hour equates to a weekly salary of $455 or $23,660 a year, which is below the federal poverty line of $23,850 for a family of four. According to the article, Emo worries that making more people eligible for overtime pay could remove the inherent incentive for lower-level managers to hustle to earn a promotion. Only one-third of his Bell ATM’s 25 employees are salaried, mostly those in management; the rest work hourly as repair technicians or customer-service representatives. Whether you agree with President Obama’s plan or not, Emo’s comments raise a lot of questions about what motivates entry level repair technicians. At least that’s my take away from Mr. Pentermann’s comments. By the way, I don’t believe that Emo and I have ever met so I have no malice or ill will to him. I do admire and respect him for speaking up, not to mention the great publicity he received from WSJ.
I am interested in what other Service executives and owners think about this issue. Without turning this into a political debate, please post your thoughts about the relationship between technician pay and motivation. Do you think your technicians will become less productive and less efficient if they know that they will be able to receive overtime pay? Do you think they will try to find reasons (think excuses) to work longer hours? Should we all just use contingent labor so we don’t have to worry about overtime pay? Since I am third party management consultant and my support staff consists of contract employees, I’d really like to learn what owners and executives think. Please submit your comments to this post. To read the WSJ article click here.