President Barack Obama has announced his next priority as president before his term ends next year. In an announcement through an op-ed yesterday on the Huffington Post, Obama said that he will be extending overtime pay to millions of Americans. He is raising the salary threshold so that workers will automatically be suitable for time-and-a-half wages to $50,440 a year from $23,660.
Obama says he is motivated by the fact that Americans are working longer days without due compensation because of outdated overtime regulations. In his op-ed, he said:
“That’s how America should do business. In this country, a hard day’s work deserves a fair day’s pay. That’s at the heart of what it means to be middle class in America…
“Will we accept an economy where only a few of us do exceptionally well? Or will we push for an economy where every American who works hard can contribute to and benefit from our success?
Obama will be going to Wisconsin this week to detail his plans of extending coverage to approximately five million workers within the next year. Obama has the power to go forward with his initiative without approval from Congress, according to the New York Times. Other democratic nominees have taken up the issue as part of their platform but conservatives and trade groups are opposed to the idea out of concerns for employer costs and potential lawsuits. There are also concerns that employers may cut back hours to save on overtime pay, and instead hire additional workers to finish projects. Another effect is that employers may lower their base pay dramatically to compensate for overtime costs.
Still, Obama is not deterred and ends his op-ed by saying:
“Let’s invest in America’s future. Let’s commit to an economy that rewards hard work, generates rising incomes, and allows everyone to share in the prosperity of a growing America. Let’s reverse harmful cuts to vital programs, and instead make the critical investments we need to grow our economy and strengthen the middle class.”