If you want to get caught up on an issue I’ve often featured in these parts–the White House’s proposed rule to increase the salary threshold for overtime pay–then read Greg Sargent’s column in the WaPo.
The administration, to their lasting credit, recognized that updating this threshold (the salary level under which salaried workers get time-and-a-half) from its current level of less than $25K/year, was an important way to help middle-class workers. Ross Eisenbrey (who, I guess I should mention, single-handedly beat my team in basketball the other night) and I give you the details here.
We suggest a threshold slightly north of $50K (and then indexed to inflation) based on a variety of criteria that you can see for yourself. For one, it’s the 1975 threshold, which we thought made sense, updated for inflation. But more to the point, from what we could tell–and I’ll admit this isn’t physics–this salary level comported with jobs that held the types of duties, tasks, and responsibilities that the OT rules were intended to cover.
But as Greg points out, despite the fact that a group a Senators wrote the administration endorsing a similar level to the Ross and I endorsed, there are rumors that the White House may come in a lot lower, at around $42K.
The differences here matter — a lot. According to the EPI, raising the threshold from its current level to a sum in the neighborhood of what the liberal Senators want could mean higher overtime pay for at least 2.6 million more people than raising it to $42,000, the amount the Obama administration is supposedly eying.
He also write this, with which I strongly concur:
In fairness, we don’t know where the administration will set the threshold. It is expected to announce its preliminary decision in February, whereupon there will be a public comment period, followed by a final decision sometime later. During that period, the administration may release its economic rationale for its decision, and liberal economists may scrutinize it to see if it is needlessly constraining or too inclined to see an ambitiously-set threshold as a threat to businesses. That period will also offer an occasion for liberals to lobby for a higher bar.
Please stay tuned to this one. The American middle class might need your help!