Thank you for inviting me to testify today.
I am Ross Eisenbrey, the vice president of the Economic Policy Institute, a nonprofit, nonpartisan think tank created in 1986 to include the needs of low- and middle-income workers in economic policy discussions.
Rep. Phil Roe claims that the new Department of Labor overtime rule will add $9 million in new costs for the University of Tennessee. This is less than half of 1 percent of the annual budget, yet Rep. Roe claims this will force a 2 percent tuition increase. That does not add up.
The priorities of our top universities, which routinely pay more than a million dollars to a football coach while starving the best-educated scientists in the world, are clearly wrong. They should be ashamed to be fighting a rule that will provide modest compensation for their employees’ long hours.
Business groups that oppose the new rule claim that salaried employees will lose important work schedule flexibility when they become eligible for overtime pay. But the evidence shows this fear is unfounded, and, in fact, salaried workers who earn less than $50,000 a year currently have barely more flexibility at work than hourly paid employees.
EPI counts everyone who is covered by the FLSA and earning a salary between the old threshold and the new one as benefitting from the new rule. This is because they will know—most of them for the first time—that they are entitled to overtime pay. Until now, many of those 12.5 million employees were denied overtime pay based on the duties tests and treated as exempt, even though they were not clearly or legitimately exempt. At the very least, all of these workers have now had their rights strengthened and clarified.
Raising the overtime salary threshold to $47,476 means 6.5 million millennials, or 4.5 million more than were covered, will directly benefit, with most of them gaining new rights to overtime eligibility.
The Department of Labor’s new overtime rule significantly increases the number of people who qualify for time-and-a-half pay for any hours they work beyond 40 in a week.
By restoring and strengthening working people’s right to overtime pay, the Department of Labor is protecting millions of Americans from overwork, and making sure they get paid their fair share when they do work more than 40 hours in a week.
These tables give a detailed breakdown of who is included in the estimated 12.5 million salaried workers who will directly benefit from the Department of Labor’s new rule raising the salary threshold below which salaried workers are automatically eligible for overtime pay.
Tomorrow, the Vice President is expected to announce the U.S. Department of Labor’s issuance of the final rule on overtime for salaried employees.
Thank you for inviting me to testify today.
My name is Ross Eisenbrey, and I am the vice president of the Economic Policy Institute, a nonprofit, nonpartisan think tank created in 1986 to include the needs of low- and middle-income workers in economic policy discussions.
Postdoctoral researchers (postdocs) are highly educated researchers who have completed rigorous Ph.D. programs, but they are often paid low wages and work long hours. The good news is that the Department of Labor’s restored overtime rule would guarantee anyone earning up to $50,000 the right to earn overtime pay—including postdocs, who will likely get a raise to put them above the new salary threshold or start receiving overtime pay.
The White House released a report this morning that illuminates another part of the complex problem of stagnating wages—the rise of non-compete agreements and their spread to low-wage employment.
The Department of Labor (DOL) is about to release a final rule that will require overtime pay for millions of salaried employees who currently can be required to work long hours for no more pay than they receive for a 40-hour week.
For more than two years, the Obama administration has been working on restoring and strengthening working people’s right to receive overtime pay for working more than 40 hours per week. It’s been reported that the salary threshold under which all workers, regardless of their title or responsibilities, will be eligible for overtime will be set at $47,000 a year. While this is slightly lower than DOL’s original proposal, it represents a significant step forward in the effort to boost wages for working people.
On September 11, 2001, almost 3,000 people died in the attacks on the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and the airliner crash in Pennsylvania.
Colleges and universities might be facing financial pressures, but if that is a concern, they should perhaps look at the top of their organization, and not try to prevent hardworking post-docs and social workers from getting a raise.
A trial court in Wisconsin has ruled
that the state’s new law banning union contracts that make every employee the union represents pay his fair share of the costs of representation is unconstitutional. The union plaintiffs and the court took a fairly novel approach to this issue.
An association of community providers serving people with intellectual and developmental disabilities commissioned a “study”
by a company called Avalere to estimate the impact of the proposed overtime rule on its member agencies. Sadly, Avalere’s report is little more than a collection of baseless assumptions adding up to an absurd result.
A new report
by Andrew Stettner, senior fellow at The Century Foundation, brings needed attention to the nation’s troubled unemployment insurance (UI) programs.
The Supreme Court’s 4-4 split decision in Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association, which was issued today, upholds a lower court decision that permits public employee unions to assess fees on non-members who benefit from collective bargaining and union representation.
The Department of Labor has taken another significant action to protect American workers from harm by issuing a final rule to control employee exposure to silica dust, which destroys lung tissue and causes cancer, disabling thousands of workers every year and killing hundreds more. Secretary of Labor Tom Perez and OSHA Administrator David Michaels have persevered against a political hailstorm to finish this rule, which was first conceived more than 35 years ago.
Whether drivers for ride services such as Uber and Lyft are employees or independent contractors has become an important issue for city administrators, labor policymakers, and the businesses and drivers themselves.
Senators Patty Murray and Sherrod Brown, together with Rep. Rosa DeLauro, are tackling one of the most important employment issues of the 21st century—wage theft, the failure of employers to pay employees what they are legally owed.
We were excited to learn that the Department of Labor has finished work yesterday on its rule to extend overtime pay rights to millions of salaried employees, and sent it on to the Office of Management and Budget for final approval by the White House.
Dozens of Republican members of Congress and two Democrats—Collin Peterson (D-Minn.) and Brad Ashford (D-Neb.)—have signed a letter to Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez about the Department of Labor’s (DOL) proposed rule on overtime pay for salaried employees, calling on him “to reconsider moving forward with this rule as drafted.” Oddly, a good part of the letter complains about provisions that are not in the proposed rule “as drafted.” The signers should be thanking the secretary, rather than complaining.
Nothing better illustrates why workers need a strong enforcement effort from OSHA than trenching violations, such as putting workers into ten-foot deep trenches in loose soil without shoring the sides or protecting them with a metal trench box. Year after year, two to three dozen workers are killed when trench walls cave in, burying them in tons of dirt and rock, crushing their lungs. A single cubic yard of soil can weigh up to 3,000 pounds, and a worker caught by a cave-in can die even when his heads is not buried.
President Obama has announced a package of reforms to repair some of the damage done in recent years to the unemployment insurance system and to provide more help to workers at risk of losing jobs—incentives for employers to retain workers, more income support for job losers, and more help getting retrained and back to work. Reforms are needed, and most of the president’s proposals are obviously helpful.