By Stephanie Román, Economic Policy Analyst, NCLR
What 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 In raw numbers, millions of salaried workers have lost overtime eligibility over the years due to an outdated salary threshold and today only 3.5 million salaried workers are eligible, compared to nearly 12 million in 1979.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Outdated overtime rules contribute to unfair pay, which can have harmful consequences for all workers—including the 12.9 million Latinos living in poverty in the United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.
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!
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