June 11, 2019

Rep. Takano and Chairman Scott, Sens. Brown and Murray Introduce Legislation to Expand Overtime Pay for Millions of Workers

Washington, DC – Rep. Mark Takano (D-CA) and Chairman Bobby Scott (D-VA) and U.S. Senators Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Patty Murray (D-WA) today introduced 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. The Restoring Overtime Pay Act would increase the overtime salary level from $23,660 per year to nearly $51,000 per year, making roughly 4.6 million workers newly eligible for overtime pay.

“American workers cannot afford to get cheated out of the pay they earned for the extra hours they worked,” said Rep. Mark Takano. “Overtime standards are long overdue for a meaningful update that will protect more workers and put money back in the pockets of millions of middle-class families. We must return to the fundamental American belief in fair pay for a hard day’s work and this legislation will help us get closer to achieving that.” 

“Restoring overtime protections for workers reflects our commitment to creating an economy that works for everyone,” said Chairman Robert C. “Bobby” Scott.“Unfortunately, rather than supporting the strong protections included in the Obama-era overtime rule, the Trump administration issued a new proposal that would leave 8.2 million workers behind, depriving them of a combined $1.6 billion in lost wages in the next year alone. The Restoring Overtime Pay Act would codify the salary level set in the 2016 Obama overtime rule and guarantee that more salaried workers get the overtime pay they deserve.”

“People who work 50 or 60 hours a week should be paid the wages they’ve earned. Period,” said Sen. Brown. “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. Our bill would fix this, and make sure workers are paid for every hour they put in.”

“Millions of workers put in more than 40 hours a week and are still unable to makes ends meet and support their families,” said Sen. Murray. “While the Trump Administration continues to put corporations and billionaires ahead of working families, 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.”

This legislation codifies the Obama Administration’s 2016 overtime rule, which would have strengthened overtime protections for millions of workers. However, a November 2016 ruling out of a federal district court in Texas prevented the rule from being implemented.  Most recently, the Trump administration proposed an overtime threshold that is not nearly high enough and would deny low- to middle- income workers potential wages they have earned or more time with their families.

According to the Economic Policy Institute, a preliminary calculation suggests that well over half of the workers who would have gotten new or strengthened overtime protections under the 2016 rule would be left behind by this proposed Trump administration rule. This means the administration’s rule would leave out millions of workers.

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 nearly $51,000 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. 


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