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Local clinic reacts to possible nationwide overtime expansion

By: Stacey Welsh
EL PASO, Texas -- Millions of workers across the country could soon earn overtime pay for the first time. President Obama plans to order the Labor Department to expand overtime pay to more employees than only those who make about the minimum wage.

While managers at The Doctors In support raising the minimum wage, avoiding overtime pay could actually mean more jobs.

The clinic would hire more workers if overtime became a problem, rather than pay current employees time and a half.

"It will make it very difficult for you as a company to be profitable if you have a lot of overtime," office manager Lidia Robles said.

The Doctors In's accounting staff budgets for overtime, but it doesn't amount to much.

"If I don't do my job properly, and I don't plan adequately, and we did have overtime, everyone could potentially be affected," Robles said.

Businesses currently can't deny overtime to salary employees who make less than about $22,000 a year.

The president could increase that limit and guarantee overtime to employees who make more money a year. However, it's not clear yet how much that increase will be.

"The areas that have the most overtime would be the front desk personnel, the medical assistants, the doctor and the nurse practitioners," Robles said.

Some said people who do have to work more than 40 hours per week deserve the change.

"It would be helpful. People have been working their whole life, and they're paid so little. Why not?" east El Paso resident Charlene Levy said.