Today, EPI President Lawrence Mishel and Vice President Ross Eisenbrey submitted comments to the Department of Labor (DOL) in support of its proposal to update overtime pay rules and to raise the overtime salary exemption threshold from $23,660 to $50,440. The proposed salary threshold will restore or strengthen overtime protections for 13.5 million salaried workers. In their comments, Eisenbrey and Mishel explain that DOL’s new proposed overtime rules follow historical norms for overtime pay:
- The proposed salary level is well within historical ranges for the overtime exemption threshold. If the threshold were based on the 1960s and 1970s levels and adjusted for inflation, it would be higher than DOL’s proposed threshold of $50,440—in 2013 dollars, the 1963 salary threshold was $51,896 and the 1970 threshold was $55,692.
- Indexing the threshold to the 40th percentile full-time salary is within the legal authority of DOL and will maintain the threshold without the need for frequent rulemaking. Any fixed salary that is not indexed will be increasingly outdated with each passing year as inflation and salaries rise.
- DOL has appropriately taken into account regional differences when setting the salary threshold as low as the proposed level. DOL has never set regionally specific or different salary tests in the past 77 years.
“The proposed overtime salary threshold will strengthen protections for workers that have been eroded by decades of bureaucratic hostility and neglect,” said Eisenbrey. “It will reinforce the Fair Labor Standards Act’s goal of spreading work, preventing overwork, which can drain family life and productivity, and compensating employees when they are required to work overtime.”
EPI also submitted signatures from 15,604 Americans who want to see the rules updated as proposed.
Eisenbrey recommended that the overtime pay rules be updated in 2008 and EPI has conducted extensive research on the overtime pay rules.