The federal government released a rule intended to initiate an economic boost to middle-class wages. The rule raises the salary threshold of workers entitled to overtime pay. The current overtime salary level threshold of $23,660 will be raised to $47,476. The government expects that an additional 4.2 million workers will be eligible to receive time-and-a-half wages for each hour they put in beyond the traditional 40 hours per week. The share of full-time workers who qualify for overtime wages fell from 62% in 1975 to 7% today, according to the administration. The new rule is slated to take effect on December 1, 2016 and is estimated to allow 35% of current workers to qualify.
The government anticipates that many companies will convert salaried workers to hourly employees, many of whom will need to punch a clock to track their hours. Others will maintain their status of salaried employees, but will have to monitor their hours and net the extra pay for working over 40 hours per week. Some employers are expected to raise some workers’ base pay to avoid paying overtime. Other employers will cut worker hours to no more than 40 hours per week, possibly bringing on part-time workers to pick up the slack. The new rule also details specific types of duties white-collar employees must perform to be exempt from the overtime requirement. The administration estimates that an additional 8.9 million workers may currently be misclassified.
The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) requires employers to pay their employees time-and-a-half for hours worked over 40 hours during one work week. The following classes of workers in the past have been automatically eligible for overtime pay, regardless of how much they earn:
- Blue Collar Workers, or other manual labor to perform work involving repetitive operations with their hands, physical skill and energy
- Police Officers, Firefighters, Paramedics, EMT’s, and other “First responders”
- Registered Nurses, Licensed Practical Nurses and Certified Nurse Assistants
- Home care Workers, Home Health Aides, Companion Caregivers, Direct Care Workers and Respite Workers
- Call Center Employees, Remote Agents, Telemarketers, Telecommuting jobs and IT Service Technicians
- Store Managers and Assistant Managers at Super Markets, Grocery Stores and Retail Stores
If you suspect that your employer is denying you overtime pay or has not paid your overtime wages in the past, you may be entitled to file an overtime pay lawsuit. If successful, you can obtain compensation for your unpaid wages, often including payment of penalties, liquidated damages, interest and attorney’s fees. If you feel that you have not been paid adequate overtime wages, contact an attorney to determine which legal option is best for you.