Support overdue update of overtime pay rule

president-ford-overtime-payWASHINGTON, D.C. (July 2, 2015) — This week, President Barack Obama proposed a long-awaited update of federal regulations that would restore access to overtime pay protections for millions of Americans. Under the proposed new rules, all salaried workers who earn less than $970 per week — or about $50,000 per year — would be eligible to earn time-and-a-half overtime pay if they work more than 40 hours per week.

The current threshold for overtime of $455 per week or $23,660 per year has been eroded by inflation because its last regular update was made in 1975 by President Gerald Ford. Only a single one-time increase has occurred in the 40 years since. Meanwhile, as wages have gradually risen during that time, more and more Americans have lost access to overtime protections. Overtime pay standards covered 62 percent of salaried workers in 1975, but just 8 percent of them in 2014.

“This rule will help 90,000 workers in Washington state get the overtime pay they deserve,” said Jeff Johnson, President of the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO. “Millions of American workers are one step closer to earning the overtime pay they have been systematically denied. Working people called on President Obama to go bold, and his response will provide a much needed boost to our entire economy.”

TAKE A STAND! — The WSLC is urging all of its affiliated unions, rank-and-file members and community supporters of fair wages to support the overtime update during the U.S. Department of Labor’s 60-day comment period before the final rule is announced. The AFL-CIO has set up a user-friendly website to submit comments. Please do so and share this link with members, family and friends to do the same.

The Overtime Update will directly benefit women, blacks, Hispanics, workers under age 35, and workers with lower levels of education especially. In terms of occupations, it will directly benefit first-line supervisors of food preparation and serving workers, insurance claims and policy processing clerks, customer service representatives, food service managers, miscellaneous legal support workers, first-line supervisors of office and administrative support workers, social workers, first-line supervisors of retail sales workers, insurance sales agents, and counselors.

It will help workers like Dawn…


Different businesses will respond to the new rule differently. Some will start paying time-and-a-half to their employees when they work more than 40 hours a week. Others will avoid paying overtime by reducing hours for their full-time employees and “spreading the work,” either by hiring new employees or by assigning more hours to their part-time employees. Also, firms with employees earning just below the threshold may bump their salaries up just above the threshold to avoid having to pay them overtime.

“This is a critically important step forward for the AFL-CIO’s Raising Wages Agenda, but it is just that — a first step,” Johnson said. “The labor movement is committed to ensuring workers’ voices are heard and ensuring that this proposal is fully implemented. And while it will help working families in Washington and across the country, we recognize that many more working people will still be denied overtime pay by their employer. We will continue fighting until every worker who deserves overtime protections is paid for all their time worked.”

Please submit your comment in favor of the overtime rule. Here is a brief DOL video explaining the proposed rule change:


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