NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- President Obama plans to expand eligitbility for overtime pay to millions more Americans next year.
Obama announced his plans in an op-ed piece published on Huffington Post Monday night. The plan would extend OT to nearly five million workers in 2016, covering all salaried workers making up to $50,400 next year. That would raise the salary threshold from $23,660 a year. Today, only employees who earn less than that automatically qualify for time-and-a-half wages after working 40 hours a week.
The president wrote, "We've got to keep making sure hard work is rewarded. Right now, too many Americans are working long days for less pay than they deserve. That's partly because we've failed to update overtime regulations for years -- and an exemption meant for highly paid, white collar employees now leaves out workers making as little as $23,660 a year -- no matter how many hours they work."
The increase would be only the second since 1975. President Obama said he will head to Wisconsin this week to promote this plan.
Expand overtime is "good for workers who want fair pay, and it's good for business owners who are already paying their employees what they deserve since those who are doing right by their employees are undercut by competitors who aren't. That's how America should do business," he wrote. "In this country, a hard day's work deserves a fair day's pay. That's at the heart of what it means to be middle class in America."
While the president's proposed rule may face opposition from some industries, it does not require congressional approval. According to the Labor Department, only 8% of full-time salaried workers are paid overtime today. In comparison, 62% of full-time salaried workers received overtime in 1975.