Rep. Mark Takano and 31 House Democrats Call for Expanded Overtime Pay
Washington DC – Earlier today, Rep. Mark Takano (D-CA) and 31 additional House Democrats sent a letter to President Obama and Labor Secretary Tom Perez calling for the Administration to take bold action in raising the income threshold for overtime pay.
In the letter, the House Democrats state the urgency in updating the income threshold saying, “The current salary threshold of $23,660 applies to only 11 percent of the nation’s salaried workers and is below the federal poverty level for a family of four. In contrast, in 1975, 65 percent of salaried workers fell below the threshold and were eligible for overtime pay.”
The letter urges the Administration to raise the income threshold to $69,000, which would cover 65 percent of salaried workers – the same amount that were eligible in 1975.
Rep. Mark Takano, who circulated the letter, said, “Since 1975, the cost of goods and services have increased tremendously, yet incomes have remained stagnant and benefits to workers have been cut. This fact is troubling and counterproductive to our economy. With the Department of Labor currently reviewing the overtime pay provision of the Fair Labor Standards Act, my colleagues and I urge the Administration to help the greatest number of American workers by raising the income threshold for overtime pay to at least $69,000. For forty years, working class families have come up on the short end of the stick and it is time that we do whatever we can to help those who need it. Raising the income threshold on overtime pay is step in the right direction and I hope the Administration takes bold action.”
Co-signers of the letter include: Rep. Karen Bass, Rep. Judy Chu, Rep. David Cicilline, Rep. Katherine Clark, Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman, Rep. John Conyers, Rep. Joe Crowley, Rep. Pete DeFazio, Rep. John Delaney, Rep. Rosa DeLauro, Rep. Keith Ellison, Rep. Anna Eshoo, Rep. Alan Grayson, Rep. Gene Green, Rep. Raúl Grijalva, Rep. Alcee Hastings, Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, Rep. Hank Johnson, Rep. Marcy Kaptur, Rep. Barbara Lee, Rep. Sander Levin, Rep. John Lewis, Rep. Betty McCollum, Rep. Jim McGovern, Rep. Jerry Nadler, Rep. Rick Nolan, Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, Rep. Mark Pocan, Rep. Jan Schakowsky, Rep. Paul Tonko, Rep. Frederica Wilson
January 16, 2015
The Honorable Barack Obama
President of the United States
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500
Dear President Obama:
We write to support bold action by your administration and the Department of Labor to update overtime pay for America’s working families. We applaud your efforts to fight income inequality and the Administration’s review of the Fair Labor Standards Act’s rules for overtime pay for salaried workers. As you work on the final regulation, we urge you to take the step that helps the largest number of workers and raise the Fair Labor Standards Act’s income threshold for overtime pay to $69,000.
The economy is growing at its fastest rate in a decade and more than 10 million private sector jobs have been created since you took office. Unfortunately, that recovery has not been shared equally by all Americans. According to the Federal Reserve, wages fell for all workers except those in the top 10 percent between 2010 and 2013. Corporations have also fared well during the recovery, with corporate profits reaching an all-time high of nearly $1.7 trillion in 2013. Unfortunately, these profits don’t seem to be helping the average American worker. The Fair Labor Standards Act sets the parameters for overtime pay for salaried workers and offers the federal government a powerful tool to fight the rising income inequality in our nation.
The FLSA requires salaried workers earning below a certain income threshold and completing specific duties to be eligible for time and a half for those hours they work above the 40-hour work week. However, as time has passed federal regulations have not kept pace with inflation or our changing economy. The current salary threshold of $23,660 applies to only 11 percent of the nation’s salaried workers and is below the federal poverty level for a family of four. In contrast, in 1975, 65 percent of salaried workers fell below the threshold and were eligible for overtime pay.
The Department of Labor has been reviewing this provision of the FLSA and is expected to announce updated regulations next month. We urge you to help the greatest number of American workers by raising the income threshold for overtime pay to $69,000. This would allow salaried workers earning less than $69,000 to earn overtime pay for hours worked beyond the 40-hour work week no matter the nature of their duties. Raising the threshold to $69,000 would ensure that 65 percent of salaried workers would be eligible for overtime pay, just as they were in 1975. This level could help as many as 10 million workers earn a living wage.
We urge you to make the bold choice and substantially raise the income threshold for overtime pay for salaried workers. We thank you for your commitment to America’s working families and look forward to working with you to combat income inequality and preserve the American Dream.
Member of Congress
Cc: The Honorable Thomas Perez, Secretary, U.S. Department of Labor