In an op-ed published by the Huffington Post, President Obama revealed his administration’s plan to raise the wages of millions of American workers through new Labor Department regulations.
“We’ve got to keep making sure hard work is rewarded. Right now, too many Americans are working long days for less pay than they deserve,” Obama wrote. “That’s partly because we’ve failed to update overtime regulations for years—and an exemption meant for highly paid, white collar employees now leaves out workers making as little as $23,660 a year—no matter how many hours they work.”
Under the new regulations, employers will be required to pay overtime to all salaried workers who earn up to $50,400 per year, or $970 a week, according to Bloomberg Business.
“That’s good for workers who want fair pay, and it’s good for business owners who are already paying their employees what they deserve—since those who are doing right by their employees are undercut by competitors who aren’t,” Obama wrote.
The regulations, which will take effect next year, will expand overtime pay to approximately 5 million Americans.
AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka applauded the new rules.
“Millions of America’s workers are one step closer to earning the overtime pay they rightfully deserve but have been systematically denied,” Trumka said. “Working people called on President Obama to go bold, and his response will provide a much needed boost to our entire economy. This is a critically important step forward for the Raising Wages Agenda, but it is just that—a first step.”
However, most associations came out against the move. In a statement to Politico, Chamber of Commerce senior vice president of Labor, Immigration and Employee Benefits Randy Johnson, called the regulations “another example of the administration being completely divorced from reality and adding more burdens to employers and expecting them to just absorb the impact.”