Not everyone is lucky enough to get paid overtime for going the extra mile in the workplace. That could soon change for at least five million people, thanks to changes proposed by the Obama Administration.
POLITICO reports that the new rule would double the salary qualifications for overtime pay, whenever an employee works more than 40 hours in a one-week span. Right now, it’s only guaranteed for employees who make $23,660 a year, but it would rise to $50,440 under this new deal. The raise increase is so high because the Obama administration also wants to cover everything from dishwashers to workers who are classified as managers.
President Obama detailed more of his reasoning in a Huffington Post op-ed on Monday:
We’ve got to keep making sure hard work is rewarded. Right now, too many Americans are working long days for less pay than they deserve. That’s partly because we’ve failed to update overtime regulations for years — and an exemption meant for highly paid, white collar employees now leaves out workers making as little as $23,660 a year — no matter how many hours they work.
As it’s written now, the overtime threshold only covers about 8 percent of workers, according to a study by the Economic Policy Institute. When the last change was made in 1975, the threshold covered 62 percent of salaried workers. If overtime pay had been updated throughout the years, the threshold would be about $52,000 today.
Here’s the bigger picture, according to EPI, which estimates a higher number of employees will be impacted than what’s currently being reported:
This higher threshold will guarantee 15 million more workers overtime pay on the basis of their salary alone, in addition to the 3.4 million workers who are already guaranteed overtime pay. It will boost wages, which have been largely stagnant for the past 35 years, create hundreds of thousands of jobs, and give more family time to millions of working parents. Overall, 3.1 million mothers and 3.2 million fathers will be guaranteed overtime pay under the new threshold, and 12.1 million children will benefit from their parents’ overtime coverage.
The threshold still won’t cover doctors, teachers, lawyers and judges, who’ve always been exempt from overtime rules.
As is normal for politics, the idea is already getting some pushback from Congress, as the GOP has a track record for going up against President Obama’s labor-related policies. We’re sure a lot of lobbyists are scrambling to get legislators to go up against it, too.
If it does pass, this could open the door for more labor legislation, which we hope included a federally mandated maternity/paternity leave. For now, we’re definitely OK with being paid for our work.