Get Paid for Your Overtime!

A new labor department rule goes into effect July 1, 2024.  The new policy will impact 4.3 million workers who are on salary and so don’t get paid overtime.  If you are one of them or know one of them, listen up.

The Labor Department is enforcing the Fair Labor Standards Act requirement regarding minimum wage and overtime rules.  Some employees were exempt from that rule e.g. if the employee is paid a salary; if the salary is not less than minimum wage; and the employee does executive, administrative, or professional duties.  But the government increased the minimum salary requirement every 5-9 years between 1938 and 1975 but since 1975, long periods have passed with no increases effectively lowering the value of the protection. Employers have used this rule to label all kinds of workers from the most menial jobs to doctors and lawyers as “salaried” so they could force them to work 50-60 hours a week without overtime pay.   

The Labor Department held 30 listening sessions and reviewed 33,000 comments.  The overwhelming response was that people needed to be paid for their overtime. The final rule goes into effect July 1 and raises the standard salary level to determine who can get overtime pay.

If you earn less than $844 a week, you are eligible to get overtime.  In January 2025, if you learn less than $1,128 per week, you are eligible for overtime.  Currently the rate is $684 per week.  The rates will now be updated every three years.  

The definition of highly compensated employees who are not eligible for overtime pay will also raise from $107,432 per year to $132,964 and then in January to $151,164.  

The Economic Policy Institute estimates 4.3 million salaried workers will benefit from this change by the Department of Labor to the tune of $1.5 billion a year.

Unfortunately all is not roses for salaried workers as unpaid overtime is the largest portion of large-scale wage theft committed by employers against employees in the U.S. It is estimated to be worth $50 billion per year. This wage theft exceeds the total of robbery, burglary, and motor vehicle theft combined. Yet you don’t see that crime wave on the news. You don’t see TV shows about cops kicking in the door of the C Suite to search the payroll records and arrest the chief financial officer.

Along with wage theft and unpaid overtime, corporate scammers are attacking tipped work and child labor.  They have put a ballot initiative on for November against tipped workers. Your state labor department could also deal with this issue – if we had one. The new budget cuts every state agency most of which were already operating with insufficient funding and staff due to the previous governor’s attempt to kill government in order to privatize services so his cronies could make a mint.

Business interests, despite record profits, are still whining along with the Chamber of Commerce.  Henry Ford, no paragon of ethics, even knew you had to pay your employees a living wage so they could buy the thing you are making to sustain your business.  Today’s employers seem to prefer serfs.  

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