To: President Obama
Tell the Department of Labor to move quickly on implementing the new overtime rule -- raising the overtime salary threshold from $23,660 to $50,440 -- or opponents in Congress will run out the clock and steal this victory from millions of workers.
Response to Petition
Thank you for adding your name to a petition urging the completion of a final overtime rule. With more than 100,000 signatures coming in, it’s clear that this is an issue inspiring broad interest and strong grassroots activism.
As you may know, two years ago, President Obama directed the Department of Labor to update and modernize the overtime rules, so that hard work is rewarded with fair pay. A fundamental principle of the Fair Labor Standards Act, going back nearly 80 years, is that workers who put in more than 40 hours per week should generally get paid more for that extra time.
Unfortunately, the overtime regulations for white-collar employees have fallen out of date. An exemption from overtime eligibility originally meant for highly-compensated, white-collar employees now applies to workers earning as little as $23,660 a year -- that’s below the poverty line for a family of four. The outdated salary level no longer does its job of identifying salaried workers who should be entitled to overtime pay for working extra hours.
Now, we’ve got news to share. But first, here’s a bit more information on the rule-making process and how we got here.
After more than a year of listening to workers, employers and other interested stakeholders, perhaps even some of you, last summer the Department of Labor proposed an update to the white-collar overtime rules to more accurately reflect the intent of the Fair Labor Standards Act, and to make the process of determining who should be paid overtime simpler for many workers and businesses.
As proposed for public comment last summer, the rule would more than double the salary threshold under which full-time salaried workers would be eligible for time-and-a-half, allowing them to be compensated for the extra hours they work each week. Updating the salary level requirement will ensure that millions of Americans who sacrifice family time for their job earn extra pay to help them make ends meet.
The Department of Labor received and reviewed thousands of public comments on the proposed rule, and yesterday, they submitted their draft of the final rule to the Office of Management and Budget for review. This is the next major step in the process toward issuing a final rule that will update the nation’s overtime regulations and ensure workers who should be paid for overtime hours receive that compensation.
We look forward to updating you in the near future, as soon as the overtime rule is finalized, and the Department of Labor begins the process of implementation. Thank you for your participation in the We the People platform.
-- We the People Team
Update: May 17, 2016
I wanted you to be the first to know about some important news on an issue I know you care deeply about: making sure you're paid fairly.
If you work more than 40 hours a week, you should get paid for it or get extra time off to spend with your family and loved ones. It's one of most important steps we're taking to help grow middle-class wages and put $12 billion more dollars in the pockets of hardworking Americans over the next 10 years.
For generations, overtime protections have meant that an honest day's work should get a fair day's pay, and that's helped American workers climb the ladder of success. That's what middle-class economics are all about.
But after years of inflation and lobbyists' efforts to weaken overtime protections, that security has eroded for too many families.
One of the many Americans who has been working hard but struggling to keep up is a single mom from Tucson, Arizona, Elizabeth Paredes. As an assistant manager at a sandwich shop, Elizabeth sometimes worked as many as 70 hours a week, without a dime of overtime pay. So Elizabeth wrote to me to say how hard it is to build a bright future for her son.
And she's not alone: Today just 7 percent of workers qualify for overtime pay based on their salaries. Compare that with 1975, when more than 60 percent of workers qualified for overtime pay based on their salaries.
This policy just hasn't kept up with the times.
The fundamental principle behind overtime pay comes from a Depression-era law called the Fair Labor Standards Act, which helps ensure that workers who put in more than 40 hours per week should generally get paid more for that extra time. I directed Secretary of Labor Tom Perez and the Department of Labor to update and modernize the overtime rules and uphold that principle.
After more than a year of listening to workers, employers, and concerned citizens like you, the Department of Labor will issue a new rule tomorrow to make it clearer to workers and businesses which workers qualify for overtime pay.
It doubles the salary threshold and automatically updates it every three years. The rule takes effect December 1.
This is a step in the right direction to strengthen and secure the middle class by raising Americans' wages. When workers have more income, they spend it -- often at businesses in their local community -- and that helps grow the economy for everyone.
Americans have spent too long working long hours and getting less in return. So wherever and whenever I can make sure that our economy rewards hard work and responsibility, that's what I'm going to do. Every hardworking American deserves a paycheck that lets them support their families, gain a little economic security, and pass down some opportunity to their kids. That's always worth fighting for.
Thanks for raising your voice on this critical issue -- we couldn't have done it without you.
President Barack Obama