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Many industries are forbidden, by law, from unpaid overtime. The law specifically exempts the software industry from this requirement. Like so many other things about the culture here, this issue seems to come down to the US being afraid of its own shadow. We're the greatest country on Earth... we say so all the time. But to change the law and forbid unpaid overtime for the software industry, something that will make people's lives better here in the greatest country on Earth, is to risk losing all these programmers jobs overseas. A terrifying prospect. So we do nothing out of fear.

The whole "greatest country on Earth" thing needs to be dropped. We live in a global society and the age of the Internet, people need to move past the patriotic party line they're fed by their govt to somehow make them feel better about themselves.

According to the GAO, approximately 25 percent of the work force is overtime-exempt. Though computer-related jobs are called out specifically in the law, programmers would also likely be exempted from overtime as "professionals", in any case. I don't think that the overtime exemption for programmers has anything to do with fear of losing jobs overseas, in that most programmers make SUBSTANTIALLY more than the minimum wage. If employers were forced to pay overtime, then they would just reduce base salaries accordingly.

The software industry is not uniformly exempt from overtime.

Programmers here are discussing if they choose to work unpaid extra hours or not. You don't make a country great by forbidding extra work regardless of the employee desires. You make a country great by allowing employers and employees to decide amongst themselves case by case. If labor wants to forbid this for other vocations good for them. I would like to keep my right to work more hours on salary or not.

Nobody is forbidding overtime work - they are exempting tech employees from receiving pay for the overtime they work. Much of this legislation was passed in the US through the lobbying of big tech corporations (Microsoft) to increase profit margins. I personally would like to revoke my right to work overtime for free.

They are not prohibiting tech employees from receiving overtime, nor are they prohibiting companies from paying tech employees overtime.

The law simply does not require companies to pay overtime to tech employees (along with other, more traditional professionals such as doctors, accountants, and lawyers).

You're correct in that tech companies can pay overtime but in real terms this legislation results in no tech companies that actually pay overtime (but Im sure there is some rare exception). I'm sure there is a bandwagon of free-market folks who would be quick to point out why this is good for tech workers but from a practical point of view it has lead to an industry that treats long hours for the same pay as the norm.

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