Op-Ed in The News Tribune: Fair overtime pay is needed in Washington
By almost any metric, Americans are working harder and longer than ever before. But even though a worker’s productivity is much higher than someone in a similar position in the 1970s, he or she is likely earning less than that worker did 50 years ago.
Millions of workers today work more than 40 hours every week but don’t earn a penny of overtime. That’s why the Obama Administration’s Department of Labor enacted a rule in 2016 increasing what is known as the “overtime threshold” guaranteeing overtime protections for workers who earned less than $47,476.
Unfortunately, that rule has since been blocked, and federal rules today only protect those who earn less than $23,660. Obama’s rule would effectively give over 4 million Americans a raise, amounting to roughly a billion dollars more in earnings a year, and create or strengthen jobs for nearly 9 million more.
Clearly, it is time to bring modernity to these rules.
The Trump administration has shown no sign that it will pursue anything nearly as protective for workers. So yet again, it is up to the states to step up where the federal government has failed.