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President Obama plans to use his executive authorities to require American businesses to pay millions of employees overtime pay, as part of a populist election-year push targeting income inequality by the White House.

The president will direct the Labor Department on Thursday to revamp regulations governing which types of employees businesses can classify as “executive or professional,” and thus avoid paying overtime.

“Due to years of neglect, one of the linchpins of the middle class, the overtime rules that establish the 40-hour workweek, have been eroded,” said a White House official.

“As a result, millions of salaried workers have been left without the protections of overtime or sometimes even the minimum wage. For example, a convenience store manager or a fast food shift supervisor or an office worker may be expected to work 50 or 60 hours a week or more, making barely enough to keep a family out of poverty, and not receive a dime of overtime pay.”

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