President Barack Obama's move to make more workers eligible for time-and-a-half overtime pay is being hailed by Democrats as a potent midterm election issue and condemned by Republicans and business leaders as presidential overreach.
Supporters say it will help the still-fragile economy, while critics say it will damage it further.
It is likely to affect millions of American workers.
Obama signed a presidential memorandum Thursday directing the Labor Department to devise new overtime rules, in his words, "to ensure that workers are paid fairly for a hard day's work."
Washington labor lawyer Tammy McCutchen, who oversaw the last overhaul of the overtime law in 2004 as a Labor Department official in the George W. Bush administration, warns Obama to expect lots of opposition from interest groups.