Every week, millions of Americans work more than 40 hours a week but do not receive the overtime pay they have earned. Tomorrow, the Department of Labor will be finalizing a rule to fix that by updating overtime protections for workers.
In total, the new rule is expected to extend overtime protections to 4.2 million more Americans who are not currently eligible under federal law, and it is expected to boost wages for workers by $12 billion over the next 10 years.
Email from President Obama: An Update on Overtime
President Obama wrote this message to petition signers to announce that the Department of Labor will be finalizing a rule that expands overtime pay to millions of American workers.
I wanted you to be the first to know about some important news on an issue I know you care deeply about: making sure you’re paid fairly.
Tomorrow, we’re strengthening our overtime pay rules to make sure millions of Americans’ hard work is rewarded. If you work more than 40 hours a week, you should get paid for it or get extra time off to spend with your family and loved ones. It’s one of most important steps we’re taking to help grow middle-class wages and put $12 billion more dollars in the pockets of hardworking Americans over the next 10 years.
For generations, overtime protections have meant that an honest day’s work should get a fair day’s pay, and that’s helped American workers climb the ladder of success. That’s what middle-class economics are all about. But after years of inflation and lobbyists’ efforts to weaken overtime protections, that security has eroded for too many families.
One of the many Americans who has been working hard but struggling to keep up is a single mom from Tucson, Arizona, Elizabeth Paredes. As an assistant manager at a sandwich shop, Elizabeth sometimes worked as many as 70 hours a week, without a dime of overtime pay. So Elizabeth wrote to me to say how hard it is to build a bright future for her son. And she’s not alone: Today just 7 percent of workers qualify for overtime pay based on their salaries. Compare that with 1975,when more than 60 percent of workers qualified for overtime pay based on their salaries. This policy just hasn’t kept up with the times.
The fundamental principle behind overtime pay comes from a Depression-era law called the Fair Labor Standards Act, which helps ensure that workers who put in more than 40 hours per week should generally get paid more for that extra time. I directed Secretary of Labor Tom Perez and the Department of Labor to update and modernize the overtime rules and uphold that principle.
After more than a year of listening to workers, employers, and concerned citizens like you, the Department of Labor will issue a new rule tomorrow to make it clearer to workers and business which workers qualify for overtime pay. It doubles the salary threshold and automatically updates it every three years. The rule takes effect December 1.
This is a step in the right direction to strengthen and secure the middle class by raising Americans’ wages. When workers have more income, they spend it – often at businesses in their local community – and that helps grow the economy for everyone.
Americans have spent too long working long hours and getting less in return. So wherever and whenever I can make sure that our economy rewards hard work and responsibility, that’s what I’m going to do. Every hardworking American deserves a paycheck that lets them support their families, gain a little economic security, and pass down some opportunity to their kids. That’s always worth fighting for.
Thanks for raising your voice on this critical issue – we couldn’t have done it without you.
President Barack Obama