AUGUSTA — Republican Gov. Paul LePage and other officials in Maine are opposing proposed changes to federal labor rules on the grounds that employment and small businesses will be negatively affected.

The U.S. Department of Labor is taking public comments on proposed changes to the federal Fair Labor Standards Act until Friday. The proposal would more than double the minimum salary needed for most salaried workers to be classified as exempt from federal overtime regulations. Nearly 5 million more Americans would qualify for overtime under the change.

LePage says the rule change would have a “lasting effect” on employers. He says the change wouldn’t benefit state residents.

State Labor Commissioner Jeanne Paquette also opposes the rule change. She says employers will revise workers’ job duties to avoid paying the increases.

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