5 Million Americans May Get Overtime Thanks To Obama

News & Views | Gerrren Keith Gaynor | 06/30/2015 | 12:15 PM EDT

President proposes policy in effort to raise wages

A new proposal presented by President Barack Obama could give 5 million American workers overtime pay.


The White House will soon release details to Obama’s proposal, which aims to lift the wages in a tough economy for middle class and low-wage Americans.


The proposed rule would more than double the salary level for all workers who qualify for overtime pay whenever they work more than 40 hours in any given week. The current threshold, $23,660, would rise to $50,440. That number would also increase automatically in future years.


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“In this country, a hard day’s work deserves a fair day’s pay,” Obama wrote in an op-ed for the Huffington Post. “That’s at the heart of what it means to be middle class in America.”


Administration aides, however, warn that the new policy wouldn’t always lead to wages going up. For example, employers could still cut back employee hours worked rather than pay the required time-and-a-half. Still, the additional hires needed to make up for that time could spur job growth, and give existing workers either more time with their families or more opportunities to work second jobs and put more money in their pockets, Politico points out.


The overtime threshold has been updated only once since 1975 and now covers only 8 percent of salaried workers. Obama’s proposal would cover about 40 percent of workers.


Teachers, lawyers, doctors and judges are exempt from the threshold as they are automatically exempt from overtime.


(Photo: Caiaimage/Sam Edwards)

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