On the Overtime Rule Moving to OMB

Following is a statement from Christine Owens, executive director with the National Employment Law Project:

“It’s really quite simple: working families need more time or more money, or both.  And now, with transmittal of the Labor Department’s overtime proposal to The White House’s Office of Management and Budget for final review, they are one step closer to getting what they need.

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“The precise content of DOL’s final proposal is unknown. But if the proposed rules sent out last summer are any indication, what is certain is that updating the “white collar” exemptions, which deny overtime protections to more and more workers each year, is long overdue. Under existing rules, employers can exempt so-called white-collar workers paid as little as $23,600 per year—a poverty wage for families—and require them to put in excessive overtime hours for no pay at all. With standards so low and so easily manipulated, millions of workers struggle at work and at home, paid too little to support themselves and their families and robbed of the personal and family time they need.

“Updating the white-collar exemptions with a more reasonable minimum salary threshold is an appropriate antidote to this crisis, ensuring that millions of low- and middle-income workers will earn more for the extra hours their employers impose or have more time to spend with their families, pursue other interests, or take on a second job if needed. The long-overdue update will also encourage companies to implement business practices like spreading hours more broadly, hiring more employees, or developing operational efficiencies that get the job done effectively, without overloading a smaller number of employees.

“The economy has been on the path to recovery for several years. Job growth is strong and unemployment is declining. But workers have been stuck, putting in too many hours for too little pay. Updating the white-collar overtime exemptions promises to finally jump-start a recovery for workers too, promising more pay or more hours. It’s a win-win for working families, for their communities, and for the economy overall. Along with other important measures, like raising the minimum wage to $15 per hour, a new white-collar overtime rule will help ensure that the economy, at last, is firing on all cylinders, with broad-based recovery that works for all of America’s workers.

“The Labor Department has done its job, and the public has had its say. Now it’s up to OMB to review and approve the final rule. We urge that it do so quickly.

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