Politics

More People To Earn Overtime Pay After Salary Requirement Change

| by Sean Kelly
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President Obama is about to decide whether or not you deserve overtime pay, the Huffington Post reports.

The majority of workers have been excluded from getting paid overtime thanks to guidelines set by the Bush Administration in 2004, but a proposal from the Obama administration is pushing to change that and put overtime pay into the pockets of more Americans.

Currently, qualification for overtime pay is determined by something called salary threshold. Those who earn a salary of less than $23,660 per year are the only people who can legally be paid time-and-a-half; making up only 11 percent of all salaried workers. Obama’s proposal looks to raise that threshold and make overtime pay more inclusive.

Economic Policy Institute vice president Ross Eisenbrey told the Post he is under the impression that the White House is aiming for a threshold of $42,000, or 35 percent of salaried workers. Eisenbrey is one of many officials who fear that the administration is perhaps aiming too low.

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“We've been working to try to get them to abandon this $42,000 number,” Eisenbrey said. “It's millions of people.”

Eisenbrey has actively advocated for an increase of the threshold to $51,168, which is based around the 1975 overtime threshold. Other advocates, like fellow Economic Policy Institute contributor Heidi Shierholz, have advocated for a slightly higher threshold. Shierholz’s proposal of $58,344 was calculated to “guarantee that the same share of salaried workers receive overtime protection as were protected in 1975—after adjusting for the different educational composition of the workforce today.”

“What I think is going on is the White House is negotiating with itself,” venture capitalist Nick Hanauer said. “They're likely to offer a compromise that they think their opponents won't hate, in this naive view. ... Why not bring the threshold up to where it should be and where it once was, given that the amount of resistance you'll run into is equal in either case?”

The Labor Department reportedly plans to release details on the proposal in February. A spokesperson for the Department maintained that they would “continue working diligently to construct an updated overtime rule that reflects the president’s directive and the input we’ve sought from a wide array of stakeholders, including workers and their employers.”

Sources: Huffington Post, EPI.org / Photo Credit: washingtonpost.com, AAObserverOnline.com