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Bill Would Make At Least Four Million Workers Newly Eligible for Overtime Pay


WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sens. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Patty Murray (D-WA), along with U.S. Reps. Bobby Scott (D-VA) and Mark Takano (D-CA), today introduced legislation to make at least four million American workers newly eligible for overtime pay when they work more than 40 hours a week, providing economic security to millions of working families.   


The Restoring Overtime Pay Act would increase the overtime salary level from $23,660 per year to $48,412 per year, making at least four million workers newly eligible for overtime pay. This bill codifies the Obama Administration’s 2016 overtime rule, which would have strengthened overtime protections for millions of workers. However, an August 2017 ruling out of a federal district court in Texas has prevented the rule from being enforced. The Trump Administration has signaled it is considering lowering the overtime salary level. This means, compared to the 2016 rule, fewer workers would get the pay they have earned. Due to this uncertainty, Brown, Murray, Scott and Takano have introduced to bill to finally increase the outdated salary level.


“People who work 50 or 60 hours a week should be paid the wages they’ve earned. Period,” said Brown, who introduced the legislation as part of his plan to restore the value of work in America. “When we don’t pay workers what they’ve earned, it drives down the value of work. Let’s make sure workers are paid for every hour they put in.”


“Millions of Americans work more than 40 hours a week and are still unable to support their families or join the middle class,” said Murray. “To help working families get ahead, we must build our economy from the middle out, not the top down. So while the Trump Administration continues to undermine protections for workers, I’m proud to introduce the Restoring Overtime Pay Act to provide a much-needed update to our nation’s overtime rules and give millions of families the financial security they need.”


“In order to ensure that our economy works for all working people and not just the wealthy few, workers must be paid for every hour they spend on the job,” said Scott. “This means ensuring that low- and mid-wage salaried workers are not forced to work overtime without additional pay. Unfortunately, the Trump Administration’s Department of Labor has indicated they will not support a robust salary level that ensures adequate protections. The Restoring Overtime Pay Act will guarantee that more salaried workers get much-deserved compensation for every hour they spend on the job.”


“This legislation is based on a simple principle: America’s workers deserve to be paid for all of the hours they work,” said Takano. “It is unacceptable for middle-class employees to be working 50- and 60-hour weeks without receiving the pay or time with their families that they earned. After four decades without a meaningful update to the overtime rule or a meaningful raise for middle-class workers, the time for modest tweaks to the overtime rule passed a long time ago. This is a moment for bold action on behalf of working families, and that’s what this legislation would deliver.”


The Restoring Overtime Pay Act strengthens overtime protections by attaching the salary level to the 40th percentile of wages in the lowest wage census region. The bill also requires automatic updates every three years to ensure the level remains in line with the changes in our economy. This means that if the bill were enacted today, the salary level would increase from $23,660 per year to $48,412 per year, making at least four million workers newly eligible for overtime.


The level for overtime pay is out-of-date and does not support working families who are struggling to make ends meet. Only full-time, salaried workers who currently earn $455 or less per week or $23,660 annually are automatically guaranteed overtime pay when working over 40 hours per week. Under the Restoring Overtime Pay Act, full-time, salaried workers will be paid for every hour they spend on the job.