We Can Fix Overtime with Your Help

By Stephanie Román, Economic Policy Analyst, NCLR

MisHorasExtras_Sharegraphic_Blog_ENG1What if we could increase wages, compensate people fairly for overtime work, and benefit 13.5 million workers without having to go through a stalled Congress? Well, we’re all in luck, because the Department of Labor wants to do all of that with a single proposed overtime rule.

As we’ve covered in a previous post on overtime, the Department of Labor’s proposed raise would increase the salary threshold for overtime pay eligibility from $455 a week ($23,660 a year) to about $970 a week ($50,440 a year).

Fixing overtime is long past due. Overtime protections have eroded substantially over the last several decades: today only 8 percent of full-time salaried workers are eligible for overtime pay compared to more than 62 percent in 1975. In raw numbers, millions of salaried workers have lost overtime eligibility over the years due to an outdated salary threshold and today only 3.5 million salaried workers are eligible, compared to nearly 12 million in 1979.

New estimates from the Economic Policy Institute project that 2.1 million Latinos who are currently exempt from overtime protections would directly benefit as early as 2016. The 2.1 million Latinos who could benefit represent 34.4 percent of all salaried Latino workers. Updating the threshold—which could mean hundreds of dollars in additional pay each week for affected workers—is necessary for the economic security of Latinos and their families.

Outdated overtime rules contribute to unfair pay, which can have harmful consequences for all workers—including the 12.9 million Latinos living in poverty in the United States. We stand to benefit from an increase in the threshold because Latinos are the most likely to earn poverty-level wages, have low levels of household wealth, and work in industries where more workers would benefit. We are also a quickly growing population in a majority of the states where the rule would have the most impact.

The benefit Latinos will receive from the proposed overtime rule is critical to the economic security of Latino families, but it won’t become a reality unless the Department of Labor hears from all of us. Now it’s up to us, the public, to show our support and spread the word.

Visit FixOvertime.org and MisHorasExtras.org to learn more about the proposed rule, to calculate how much you could benefit, and to share your support for the rule.

Join NCLR on social media to spread the word on how the overtime rule can benefit Latinos using the hashtags #FixOvertime and #MisHorasExtras. Let’s show Secretary of Labor Tom Perez that Latinos support fixing overtime!

Click the images below to download and share!

Minimum Wage Increase Coming Soon to Federal Contractor Employees

USCurrency_Federal_ReserveEmployees of federal contractors who make minimum wage will soon notice a boost in their paychecks. Earlier today, the U.S. Department of Labor finalized a rule that increased the minimum wage for this group to $10.10. The Economic Policy Institute says the new rule sets a floor on wages for almost 20 percent of federal contractors earning less than poverty-level wages, mostly minorities and women. We wholeheartedly support this rule and are thrilled to see it finalized.

“NCLR commends the administration for raising the wages of employees who do business with the federal government,” said NCLR Vice President of the Office of Research, Advocacy and Legislation, Eric Rodriguez in a statement. “Not only is this the right thing to do to lift working families out of poverty and to help them keep pace with the rising cost of living, but it should also be a catalyst for Congress to boost the federal minimum wage.”

The new rule is estimated to affect 200k new workers and will apply to employees who work on new or renewed contracts issued after Jan. 2015.

Unfortunately, Congress failed to pass a similar minimum wage increase for all workers this year. Their inaction leaves nearly 28 million people, one-quarter of whom are Latino, at the current paltry rate of $7.25. We will continue to fight for an increase so that Latinos, and workers in general, don’t have to worry about earning enough to cover even their most basic expenses.

Latinos Support the President’s Plan to Invest in the Future

By Leticia Miranda, Senior Policy Advisor and Catherine Singley, Senior Policy Analyst, Economic Policy Project, NCLR

Photo: The White House

We commend President Obama’s agenda proposed in his State of the Union address. He talked about increasing investments in education, infrastructure, and workforce development. These are all investments in the future that are critical to our country’s long-term prosperity. One realistic way to help pay for these includes closing tax loopholes that benefit the top 2% and wealthy corporations, which President Obama also emphasized in his address.

We are particularly pleased with the president’s bold commitment to guarantee that every child in this country is afforded the opportunity to receive a quality education starting in preschool, which is perhaps one of the most critical investments with the potential to advance our children and our community. In addition, we are heartened to hear the president talk about raising the minimum wage. Latino workers are more likely to be working at low wages; increasing the federal minimum wage would mean higher pay for millions of working families. And we are glad to hear that he is prioritizing strengthening the housing market; the president recognizes that Latino families are missing out on affordable home prices, even though they have solid credit.

We support President Obama’s call to stop the irrational, arbitrary, and harmful budget cuts that are scheduled to take effect on March 1, 2013. Working families have already paid by taking $1.5 trillion in spending cuts in 2011 and 2012. If Congress insists on more deficit reduction this year, they should do it by closing tax loopholes that benefit the top 2% and wealthy corporations, not by further cutting federal programs that are crucial for Latino children and working families.

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