Last night, in her State of the State address, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer mentioned her proposed rule to increase overtime eligibility so that salaried Michigan workers see more in their paychecks. This rule would allow these workers to earn 1.5 times their effective hourly rate after working more than 40 hours per week.
In 2016, the Obama administration published a federal rule that would have increased the overtime threshold to roughly $51,000 in 2020—a modest figure that was well within historic norms. However, the Trump administration abandoned this rule and published a much weaker version that sets the salary threshold at $35,568. In doing this, they cost more than eight million workers overtime protections—totaling $1.2 billion in lost wages. The United Way’s ALICE report on financially struggling households shows that Michigan families need about $61,000 a year to afford the basics. A strong rule would raise the salary threshold for workers who earn up to $61,000 and would also be indexed to inflation to keep pace with overall wage growth.
Governor Whitmer is doing the right thing to help workers get paid for extra hours they work. Michigan would join six other states in raising its overtime threshold. We encourage other states to take action so that workers don’t continue to lose out on their hard-earned wages.