Economic Snapshot | Unions and Labor Standards

How Many Workers in Your State Would Gain Overtime Protections under an Updated Threshold?

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) requires employers to pay all covered workers a premium when they work overtime: 1.5 times the regular rate of pay for each hour beyond 40 in a week. Even some salaried employees with some managerial responsibilities, if they earn wages beneath a certain threshold, are covered by this protection, which is designed to spread available work and increase employment, and to raise the wages of employees who are required by their employers to work long hours. But far too many salaried workers are not covered by overtime or minimum-wage protections because the salary threshold at $23,660 per year has not kept up with wage growth or inflation and is far too low. The interactive map below compares the share of workers who currently fall under the overtime protection threshold in each state to how many more would be eligible for overtime protections under an updated threshold.

Economic Snapshot

Millions more workers would be covered under updated overtime threshold: Share of salaried workers with overtime protections under current and proposed threshold, 2013

State Currently covered ($455/week) At 1975 level ($984/week)
USA 11.3% 47.7%
Alabama 14.8% 59.7%
Alaska 8.4% 40.8%
Arizona 11.5% 49.3%
Arkansas 13.4% 62.9%
California 11.5% 41.9%
Colorado 9.0% 40.6%
Connecticut 6.7% 31.8%
Delaware 8.6% 45.7%
District of Columbia 4.7% 31.1%
Florida 13.3% 57.7%
Georgia 11.3% 53.7%
Hawaii 9.8% 51.1%
Idaho 11.9% 55.3%
Illinois 9.2% 45.2%
Indiana 8.6% 47.6%
Iowa 9.4% 47.0%
Kansas 11.8% 48.5%
Kentucky 15.0% 59.9%
Louisiana 19.1% 60.8%
Maine 9.0% 47.3%
Maryland 9.2% 39.5%
Massachusetts 7.7% 34.0%
Michigan 10.3% 41.7%
Minnesota 7.2% 39.3%
Mississippi 12.0% 60.9%
Missouri 11.1% 53.2%
Montana 11.7% 55.5%
Nebraska 10.1% 47.6%
Nevada 12.4% 52.5%
New Hampshire 6.8% 40.5%
New Jersey 10.8% 40.9%
New Mexico 14.6% 51.5%
New York 12.3% 46.1%
North Carolina 12.9% 56.2%
North Dakota 7.9% 49.2%
Ohio 9.5% 48.5%
Oklahoma 12.2% 58.1%
Oregon 10.6% 45.4%
Pennsylvania 10.0% 45.2%
Rhode Island 7.1% 38.3%
South Carolina 12.8% 58.4%
South Dakota 10.4% 52.3%
Tennessee 12.1% 57.6%
Texas 14.7% 53.0%
Utah 11.7% 46.4%
Vermont 10.5% 48.9%
Virginia 9.6% 41.4%
Washington 9.2% 39.7%
West Virginia 11.3% 51.8%
Wisconsin 8.9% 44.3%
Wyoming 10.2% 48.4%

 

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Notes: Estimates are calculated from a sample of salaried workers who are 18–64 years old. All values have been rounded to the nearest hundred.

Source: EPI analysis of Current Population Survey Outgoing Rotation Group (ORG) microdata

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A key test of whether an employee should receive minimum-wage and overtime protections is the salary she receives. If it is a relatively low salary then it is safe to presume she is not a ‘bona fide professional, administrator, or executive’ excluded from overtime and minimum-wage protections. In the past, the minimum salary under which workers were guaranteed FLSA coverage was set at levels high enough so that 65 percent of the workforce was covered. (Above the threshold, overtime protections depend on showing that the employee’s primary duty is not executive, administrative, or professional.) But the level has been allowed to erode over the years and now covers only 11.7 percent of salaried employees. The salary level for coverage has fallen, in 2013 dollars, from $984 per week in 1975 to $455 today– a level just below the current poverty threshold for a family of four, meaning that only salaried workers earning poverty wages are assumed not to be bona fide managers, professionals, and executives.

Restoring the salary threshold to the 1975 level would increase FLSA overtime coverage so that, nationwide, about 47 percent of salaried employees (24 million employees) would be guaranteed coverage without having to examine their duties. And see the table below for a state by state breakdown of the number of salaried workers who fall under the current and the proposed overtime protection thresholds.

Economic Snapshot

Number of salaried workers covered under various overtime protection thresholds, 2013

State Currently covered ($455/week) At 1975 level ($984/week)
USA 5,680,100 23,963,000
Alabama 108,400 437,000
Alaska 8,000 39,200
Arizona 111,400 478,300
Arkansas 54,000 253,800
California 647,000 2,350,000
Colorado 86,400 388,500
Connecticut 43,400 206,200
Delaware 13,500 72,000
District of Columbia 9,000 59,800
Florida 446,900 1943900
Georgia 192,400 914,400
Hawaii 20,900 108,800
Idaho 23,400 108,700
Illinois 207,600 1,014,800
Indiana 77,400 427,400
Iowa 44,700 223,800
Kansas 52,900 217,400
Kentucky 83,400 332,500
Louisiana 131,500 418,800
Maine 15,500 81,400
Maryland 114,500 491,500
Massachusetts 99,600 436,800
Michigan 132,600 536,600
Minnesota 68,100 373,200
Mississippi 45,700 231,700
Missouri 102,100 491,200
Montana 12,700 60,200
Nebraska 28,700 135,600
Nevada 46,400 196,400
New Hampshire 16,300 97,300
New Jersey 193,200 727,900
New Mexico 39,300 138,700
New York 463,400 1,731,200
North Carolina 198,700 869,000
North Dakota 9,100 56,200
Ohio 132,400 673,400
Oklahoma 65,100 310,900
Oregon 53,800 230,000
Pennsylvania 191,300 862,500
Rhode Island 11,400 61,200
South Carolina 88,300 403,800
South Dakota 10,400 52,700
Tennessee 111,300 530,400
Texas 642,600 2,312,600
Utah 53,000 209,800
Vermont 10,200 47,500
Virginia 163,700 702,100
Washington 95,300 411,200
West Virginia 24,500 111,600
Wisconsin 71,300 355,700
Wyoming 7,900 37,400

Notes: Estimates are calculated from a sample of salaried workers who are 18–64 years old. All values have been rounded to the nearest hundred.

Source: EPI analysis of Current Population Survey Outgoing Rotation Group (ORG) microdata

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See related work on Unions and Labor Standards | Overtime

See more work by Will Kimball and Ross Eisenbrey