Overtime

Coalition Statement of Support for Legislation Updating Overtime Pay

December 1, 2017

We, the undersigned organizations, affirm our support for the Restoring Overtime Pay Act, a bill which would update the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) to restore overtime pay protections to millions of workers. Our organizations represent a diverse coalition [including research institutions, policy organizations, and advocacy groups] committed to advancing the economic security of our nation’s workers.

In 1975, the Labor Department set the level at which workers could be exempt from overtime to the equivalent of well over $50,000 in today’s dollars, high enough to cover more than 60 percent of full-time salaried workers. However, far too many salaried workers have fallen through the cracks because the salary threshold had not kept up with wage growth or inflation. The salary threshold in 2016 was just $23,660 per year—under the poverty line for a family of four, and certainly not representative of the types of workers who were intended to fall under this exemption. This means that millions of workers with low salaries have been putting in longer hours—50, 60, or more hours a week—without a dime of extra pay.

The Department of Labor issued a new rule in 2016 to set the salary threshold for exemption at $47,476—high enough to cover about one-third of full-time salaried employees. However, business interests attacked this rule in the courts, and the Trump Department of Labor has been clear that it intends to weaken this threshold.

In light of these attacks on workers’ overtime pay, we applaud the bill’s cosponsors for stepping in and taking action to protect these workers. The Restoring Overtime Pay Act would set the salary level for exemption to the same painstakingly researched standard identified in the Department of Labor’s 2016 rulemaking, the 40th percentile of wages in the lowest wage Census region, and require automatic updates every 3 years to prevent the threshold from falling so behind again.

Workers know that they are more productive than ever before, working harder and smarter than ever before, with corporate profits at an all-time high, yet their wages are not keeping up with their productivity. The Restoring Overtime Pay Act would provide a much-needed boost to middle-wage workers’ earnings and security.

Sincerely,

AFL-CIO
American Federation of Teachers
Center for American Progress
Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP)
Coalition on Human Needs
Colorado Center on Law and Policy
Community, Faith & Labor Coalition
Connecticut Legal Services
Daily Kos
Damayan Migrant Workers Association
Demos
Economic Opportunity Institute
Economic Policy Institute
Equal Justice Center
Equal Rights Advocates
Fair Work Center
Faith Voices Arkansas
Family Values@Work
Fe y Justicia Worker Center
Greater New York Labor-Religion Coalition
Indianapolis Worker Justice Center
Interfaith Worker Justice
Interfaith Worker Justice San Diego
Jobs with Justice
Labor Project for Working Families
Labor Resource Center at the University of Massachusetts-Boston
La Plata County Thrive! Living Wage Coalition
Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights
Legal Aid at Work
Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy
Michigan League for Public Policy
NAACP
National Center for Lesbian Rights
National Council of Jewish Women
National Employment Law Project
National Employment Lawyers Association
National Immigration Law Center
National Partnership for Women and Families
National Women’s Law Center
New Jersey Policy Perspective
Oxfam America
Policy Matters Ohio
Pride at Work
Progressive Congress Action Fund
Restaurant Opportunities Centers United
Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law
Service Employees International Union (SEIU)
South Florida Interfaith Worker Justice
UnidosUS (formerly National Council of La Raza)
United Automobile, Aerospace and Agricultural Implement Workers of America (UAW)
Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO
Women Employed
Workplace Fairness


See related work on Overtime