WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senators Patty Murray (D-WA), ranking member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, and Sherrod Brown (D-OH) blasted the Trump administration following reports that it is poised to set the salary threshold under which workers would be guaranteed overtime pay at $35,000, down from $47,476 set by the Obama Administration. Murray and Brown said the Trump Administration’s threshold is not nearly high enough and would deny low- to middle- income workers potential wages they have earned or more time with their families.
Last Congress, Murray and Brown joined Reps. Bobby Scott (D-VA) and Mark Takano (D-CA) in introducing legislation to make millions of American workers newly eligible for overtime pay when they work more than 40 hours a week, providing economic security to millions of working families. Their Restoring Overtime Pay Act would increase the overtime salary level from $23,660 per year to about $50,000 per year, making at least four million workers newly eligible for overtime pay.
“Far too many people work more than 40 hours a week and are still struggling to support their families, and this proposed rule would mean that fewer workers would get paid fairly for the hours they work,” said Murray. “It’s well past time for the Trump Administration to stop siding with corporations and CEOs and start building an economy that works for all of us, not just those at the top.”
“People who work 50 or 60 hours a week should be paid the wages they’ve earned. Period,” said Brown. “If the Trump administration follows through on this rule, it would be breaking its promise to hardworking Americans. By failing to stand up for workers and defend the overtime rule, the President is failing to put workers first and is driving down the value of work.”
The Senators’ bill aimed to codify the Obama administration’s 2016 overtime rule, which would have strengthened overtime protections for millions of workers by extending eligibility for overtime pay to workers earning less than $47,476 annually. However, in August 2017, a federal judge in Texas blocked the Department of Labor (DOL) overtime rule from going into effect.
The Trump administration’s recent signals that it will lower the overtime salary threshold means that, compared to the 2016 rule, fewer workers would get the pay they have earned or get more time with their families.