President Obama could raise wages for millions through overtime expansion
Increasing the wages for millions of middle and working class Americans is an issue that has received a lot of discussion, both for and against. The primary method has been through raising the federally mandated minimum wage, however, the Obama administration could raise wages for millions without sending a single bill through Congress. The Labor Department is poised to propose a rule that would double the maximum salary to be eligible for overtime pay, increasing wages for 5 to 10 million Americans in the process.
As early as this week, the Labor Department could propose a rule that would raise the current overtime threshold — $23,660 – to as much as $52,000, extending time and a half overtime pay to millions of American workers. The rule has already come under fire from business and Republican opponents who say it will kill jobs and force employers to cut hours for salaried employees.
“The minimum wage they can’t do,” said Bill Samuel, director of legislative affairs for the AFL-CIO. “This is probably the most significant step they can take to raise wages for millions of workers.”
The overtime threshold is not indexed to inflation and has been updated only once since 1975. It covers 12 percent of salaried workers. Boosting the threshold to $50,440 would bring it back in line with the 1975 threshold, after inflation. By one estimate that would give somewhere between five to ten million workers a raise.