Restrictions On Overtime Pay May Change This Week – Thanks, Obama!

Say you’re a secretary getting a flat salary, working Monday through Friday from 9 to 5 for a skimpy $500 each week. But when the busy season in the office kicks in and you have to put in extra hours, you don’t get paid for overtime. Remember, you’re salaried – administrative – and even though you don’t make much, you’re still paid enough to exclude you from labor laws that would ordinarily get you that time-and-a-half pay.

But it shouldn’t be that way for too much longer. If President Obama stays true to his word, you – and between 5 and 10 million other Americans – will soon be eligible for a correcting pay raise for the first time in 40 years.

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The U.S. Dept. of Labor is expected to propose a change to the Fair Labor Standard Act regarding overtime pay later this week. Currently, a salaried employee who makes $23,600 or more is exempt from time-and-a-half pay rates when working over 40 hours in one week. That salary ceiling was last declared in 1975, though, when average wages were only $8,600.

A DOL proposal to change the Act would raise that ceiling to an inflation-adjusted limit of between $45,000 and $52,000, Politico reports. This proposal comes about from a memorandum Obama issued to Sec. of Labor Thomas Perez in March 2014 on this same subject.

Such a proposal would never be approved by a GOP-led Congress, as many Republican representatives already complain about the possibility. However, Congress has nothing to do with this one. The Dept. of Labor can itself make the change to that salary ceiling with the president’s approval.

Obama’s very likely to do just that, too. Not only did he specifically request DOL to review the subject, but he’s also taken similar actions in the past. For example:

  • In February 2014, he signed an executive order that raised the minimum wage for all federal employees and government contractor workers to $10.10, and
  • In both 2014 and 2015, he granted annual pay raises to federal employees.

Featured image from Official White House Photostream via Wikimedia

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