You Might Finally Be Eligible for Overtime Pay

September 24, 2019, 4:55 PM UTC
Labor Department Overtime Pay-Indiana
Workers use welding torches on semi-trailer frames at the Wabash National Corp. manufacturing facility in Lafayette, Indiana, U.S., on Tuesday, Aug. 13, 2019. Markit is scheduled to release manufacturing figures on August 22. Photographer: Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Another 1.3 million workers across America are about to become eligible for overtime pay after the Labor Department updated the Fair Labor Standards Act, an action that has been over a decade in the making.

Starting Jan. 1, workers who earn a non-hourly salary of less than $35,568 will be entitled to overtime pay. Presently, the cap is set at less than $23,660 a year. (Another way to look at that is the level will rise from $455 to $684 per week.) Employees will receive time-and-a-half for any time they work beyond 40 hours in a week. Some workers who make more than the threshold might be eligible for overtime if they do not primarily perform management duties.

“For the first time in over 15 years, America’s workers will have an update to overtime regulations that will put overtime pay into the pockets of more than a million working Americans,” Acting U.S. Secretary of Labor Patrick Pizzella said. “This rule brings a commonsense approach that offers consistency and certainty for employers as well as clarity and prosperity for American workers.”

Critics, though, say the new rules don’t go far enough. A previous proposal, under President Barack Obama, would have raised the salary threshold to roughly $47,000. That would have spread the overtime payments to an estimated 4 million workers. A Texas judge struck down that number. The Trump administration set the lower level.

Several states have already superceded the Labor Department rules. New York and California have a $50,000 threshold for overtime eligibility. And others are said to be considering similar limits.

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