Democratic lawmakers push to significantly extend overtime pay eligibility and promote pay fairness in America

For millions of American workers, working overtime has become a regular part of their workweek, but many of those workers may not be receiving the overtime pay they’re entitled to. To address this issue, House and Senate Democrats have reintroduced the Restoring Overtime Pay Act, a piece of legislation that expands overtime pay eligibility to more salaried workers. In this article, we will discuss the proposed changes, what they mean for workers, and why they are important.

The Restoring Overtime Pay Act: A Brief Overview

The Restoring Overtime Pay Act is a bill that builds upon a law of the same name passed in 2019. The new bill aims to expand eligibility for overtime pay to 55% of salaried workers earning an annual salary of up to $45,000. This is a significant increase as currently, only salaried workers earning $35,568 or less per year are eligible for overtime pay.

The current low rate of salaried workers receiving overtime pay is concerning

According to Senator Sherrod Brown, fewer than 15% of all full-time salaried workers receive overtime pay. This means that the majority of salaried workers – who are paid a set amount each year, regardless of how many hours they work – are not entitled to any extra pay for working overtime.

The expansion of overtime pay eligibility to 55% of salaried workers

Under the proposed legislation, the number of salaried workers who are eligible for overtime pay would increase significantly. This would help ensure that more workers are fairly compensated for the time they spend working beyond their regular hours.

A gradual increase in the salary threshold over five years

The new bill would gradually increase the salary threshold for overtime pay eligibility over the course of five years. This would allow more workers to become eligible for overtime pay, while also giving employers time to adjust to the new regulations. By 2027, the salary cap for overtime pay eligibility would be approximately $82,700.

The prevalence of overtime work among Americans

A survey conducted by Spiceworks found that 71% of Americans work overtime at least once a week. This means that a significant proportion of workers in the country spend more time at work than they are formally required to.

Currently, only workers earning up to $35,568 are eligible for overtime pay. This salary threshold has remained unchanged since 2004, and as a result, many salaried workers today are excluded from overtime pay protections.

The need for fair pay and treatment for exempt employees

Exempt employees are workers who are not entitled to overtime pay because they are considered “exempt” from the Fair Labor Standards Act. These employees are typically salaried workers who perform executive, administrative, or professional duties. However, some employers misclassify employees as exempt in order to avoid paying them overtime. According to Representative Alma Adams, exempt employees are too frequently denied fair pay and fair treatment. The proposed legislation is intended to address these issues and provide better protection for workers.

There is an upcoming update to the overtime rule by the Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division

The overtime rule, which determines which employees are eligible for overtime pay, is set to be updated by the Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division in May. This update could raise the salary threshold for overtime pay eligibility, but it is unclear by how much.

Overall, the Restoring Overtime Pay Act aims to expand overtime pay eligibility to more workers, ensuring that they are fairly compensated for their work. With millions of Americans working overtime each week, this legislation could help many workers earn more money for the time they spend on the job. As the bill moves through Congress, its supporters are hopeful that it will ultimately become law, providing much-needed relief to the millions of Americans who work beyond their regular hours.

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