Too many Ohioans work hundreds of extra hours each year and don’t get paid overtime for them.

It’s simple: if you work extra hours, you should earn extra pay.

That is why for years I’ve led the fight to make more Ohioans eligible for overtime pay.

Right now, companies don’t have to pay overtime to salaried workers who earn more than just $36,000 a year. That salary threshold is so low and so out-of-date that it leaves 85 percent of salaried workers behind.

Through multiple presidents, I have pushed the Department of Labor to update this rule that determines who gets overtime pay. In 2016, we thought we had this fixed, but a court got in the way.

We will keep at it, until hard work pays off for all workers in Ohio and around the country. It’s why this week I introduced legislation to expand overtime pay for millions of workers.

The Restoring Overtime Pay Act of 2023 will raise the current threshold immediately, and raise it each year for five years, so that eventually more than half of salaried workers will qualify. It would mean money in the pockets of Ohioans, at a time when they need it most to keep up with rising costs.

These aren’t rich executives. Right now, workers like middle managers at banks and restaurants and grocery stores, who make as little as $38,000 or $40,000 a year, are considered too highly-paid to qualify. They are often required to work 50, 60, or 70 hours a week. These Ohioans are putting in the extra work – their paychecks should reflect that.

Overtime is fundamental to the dignity of work. It is about valuing work and the people who do it.

For generations, people earned their way to the middle class by picking up extra shifts and doing all they could to provide for their families. But we’ve let that erode like so many of the policies that reward work.

I will keep fighting for overtime pay for Ohio workers, because when work has dignity, people are paid the extra wages they’ve earned for the extra hours they work.

Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) represents the state in the U.S. Senate.