Obama Wants To Pay 5 Million Workers Overtime

Obama Wants To Pay 5 Million Workers Overtime
DHS Rally – May 2005 AFGE / Flickr CC BY 2.0
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President Obama has just proposed a new rule change, one that would affect as much as 5 million American workers significantly. In an op-ed piece published in the Huffington Post, President Obama wrote that he recognizes that not being able to reward hard work is a problem.


He writes, “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.”

This is why he wants overtime to be paid for to more Americans workers; in fact, 5 million more. According to the New York Times, the new proposed rule that will extend overtime will do so by increasing the salary threshold that qualifies for the said benefit to $50,440 a year. The current threshold is at $23,660 a year. The Wall Street Journal also reports that the federal rules were last updated in 2004, which ruled that white collar workers are generally not eligible for overtime pay.

In a separate report, the New York Times has also found that in 2004, as much as 82 of the workforce was not guaranteed overtime. This was a stark contrast to 1975 when 35 percent were not sure if can get overtime pay.

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Moreover, President Obama also wrote in his op-ed piece, “That’s good for workers who want fair pay, and it’s good for business owners who are already paying their employees what they deserve – since those who are doing right by their employees are undercut by competitors who aren’t.”

Meanwhile, The Wall Street Journal has found that several businesses are not happy to about this new proposal at all. In fact, when it interviewed Toppers Pizza Inc. Founder and President Scott Gittrich, he simply said, “The rules are going to force more people into part-time work, and we’re already seeing that with Obamacare.”

In addition, the National Retail Federation has also told New York Times that expanding overtime coverage will just “add to employers’ costs, undermine customer service, hinder productivity, generate more litigation opportunities for trial lawyers and ultimately harm job creation.”

As for the timeline, President Obama writes, “That’s what I’ll fight for every day for the next 18 months.”