The Trump administration on Friday declined to defend landmark overtime reforms put forward by former President Barack Obama last year. In a brief filed in federal court, the White House said it instead wants to take its own stab at tweaking the nation’s overtime rules.
That’s a mixed bag for the nation’s salaried workers.
Obama’s rules would have extended overtime protections to an estimated 4 million additional people, entitling them to time-and-a-half pay when they work more than 40 hours in a week. Any plan that the Trump White House comes up with would be far less sweeping ― but would still cover more workers than the status quo.
Overtime pay has become pretty much a foreign concept to a whole generation of Americans who work on salary. While hourly workers are automatically entitled to extra pay for extra work, the rules for salaried workers are more complicated. The way they’re written now, only an estimated 11 percent get overtime pay, compared with around 65 percent back in 1975.
Obama tried to cover more workers by raising the so-called salary threshold ― the level below which pretty much all salaried workers are guaranteed time and a half for overtime. The current threshold is just $23,660; the Obama proposal would have moved it to $47,476, bringing protections to millions of workers whose salaries fall between those two numbers. It was perhaps the most dramatic economic reform Obama attempted through executive action.