Obama to propose expanding overtime for millions – USA TODAY
President Obama detailed a proposed plan on Monday that would widen the circle of salaried employees able to receive overtime benefits in an opinion piece published in The Huffington Post.
In the piece, Obama asserts that an exemption that was intended for highly paid white collar employees affects workers making as little as $23,660. Under the president’s plan, overtime protections would go to salaried employees who make up to $50,400 per year.
“We’ve got to keep making sure hard work is rewarded,” the president writes. “Right now, too many Americans are working long days for less pay than they deserve.”
Obama maintains this is not only good for employees, but also for employers who are now paying employees what they deserve and are being undercut by those who don’t.
The plan would strengthen the middle class, the president says.
“Will we accept an economy where only a few of us live exceptionally well?” Obama writes. “Or will we push for an economy where every American who works hard can contribute to and benefit from our success?”
“In this country, a hard day’s work deserves a fair day’s pay. That’s at the heart of what it means to be middle class in America.”
The increased salary ceiling would bring overtime benefits to about 15 million more workers, Ross Eisenbrey, vice president of the Economic Policy Institute, told Bloomberg Business.
The Society for Human Resource Management said in a statement Monday that while it understands the need to improve employee compensation, it also is concerned that the non-profit and service economy sectors will be disproportionately affected by the proposed plan. The proposal also would force employers to have to track time of salaried managers and stick to rigid schedules, “all of which will have a significant impact on employee morale,” the statement read.
The National Retail Federation, which represents retailers in more than 45 countries, argues that the plan might motivate employers to rework supervisory structures and reduce the numbers of entry-level management jobs, according to Bloomberg.
Americans United for Change, an advocacy group, praised the proposed rule as one that would help close the “income inequality gap.”
It is not just good for workers putting in extra time without compensation, said Jeremy Funk, the group’s communications director. “It’s also good for the economy as a whole, because putting more money in the pockets of hard-working middle class families means more demand for goods and services from local businesses.”