Press Statement
Women’s Leader Praises Labor Department for Proposing ‘Badly Needed and Long Overdue Raise’ for Millions of Americans

“Right now, salaried workers must be paid poverty wages to qualify for overtime pay in this country. That is morally wrong and terribly harmful to workers, families and our economy. But the U.S. Department of Labor today announced a bold step to change that and to give millions of Americans a badly needed and long overdue raise. In doing so, the department is demonstrating an exceptional commitment to economic justice and a keen understanding of what America’s working people and our economy need. The proposed rule should be finalized as is and without delay.

When that happens, overtime protections will be clearer for approximately 11 million people – including millions of women and mothers – who will finally receive fair compensation for all of the time they work. These are women who cannot put food on the table, mothers who cannot buy shoes for their children, and grandmothers who cannot buy gas for their cars even though they work long hours. They would benefit from this new rule. This is especially important because, as both breadwinners and primary caregivers, women’s wages and time are critical for their families’ economic security and well-being.

It is unacceptable that, in 2015, only hourly workers and those who are paid salaries that fall below the poverty line for a family of four – or $23,660 per year or less – are eligible for overtime pay when they work more than 40 hours in a week. Workers who are paid more than that only qualify if their job duties are not professional, executive or administrative. Not only is that salary threshold unacceptably low and outdated, but employees are too often misclassified and then forced to work long hours without overtime pay. That is shameful, and this new rule would help change it.

By raising the salary threshold to $50,440 per year and establishing a mechanism to automatically update that number going forward, the rule announced today would keep millions of workers from being denied the pay they rightfully deserve and their families desperately need.

The National Partnership applauds President Obama for ordering these revisions, and the Labor Department for proposing a strong rule. It has been three decades since the regulations that govern overtime pay have been updated in a meaningful way. With this action, the administration is stepping up to make much-needed fixes that will help millions of workers and their families make ends meet. It is the right thing to do and the regulatory process should continue swiftly.”

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About the National Partnership for Women & Families

The National Partnership for Women & Families is a nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy group dedicated to promoting fairness in the workplace, reproductive health and rights, access to quality, affordable health care and policies that help all people meet the dual demands of work and family.

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