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Led by Murray and Sanders, 26 Senators Urge President Obama to Help Workers Get Paid Fairly for Overtime Hours

Raising the overtime salary threshold would help millions of middle-class Americans earn time-and-a-half-pay when they work more than 40 hours a week

 Democrats continue focus on increasing wages, economic security

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, led by U.S. Sens. Patty Murray (D-WA), the top Democrat on the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee and Bernie Sanders (I-VT), 26 Democratic senators reaffirmed their support for updating overtime rules to ensure more middle-class workers are paid fairly for overtime hours. In a letter to President Barack Obama, Murray, Sanders, and Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Al Franken (D-MN), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Bob Casey (D-PA), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Jack Reed (D-RI), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Ed Markey (D-MA), Pat Leahy (D-VT), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Chris Murphy (D-CT), Brian Schatz (D-HI), Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Ben Cardin (D-MD), and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) urged the Administration to raise the overtime threshold for salaried workers to $56,680 a year to strengthen overtime protections for millions more middle-class workers.

“Too many Americans are working longer and harder without anything to show for their efforts in their paychecks,” the senators wrote. “These long hours are straining middle class workers and their families.  Since the 1970s, average salaries for middle class individuals have dropped even while salaried workers have increased the hours they spend on the job.  Strengthening overtime protections will help millions of middle class families.”       

Currently, the salary threshold for receiving overtime pay is $23,660 – a wage below the poverty line for a family of four. That threshold covers approximately 11 percent of today’s salaried workers, and disqualifies millions of middle-class workers who often work long hours from getting time-and-a-half pay. Raising the threshold to $56,680 would cover 47 percent of today’s salaried workers, ensuring more workers get a fair day’s pay for a hard day’s work.

Full text of the senators’ letter can be found here